SHN+ Report: Inside the Future of University Partnerships in Senior Living

Key Takeaways

One size does not fit all.

Senior housing communities can be affiliated with colleges and universities in many different ways and to various degrees. The best-known university affiliation model is the university-based retirement community (UBRC), but there is also the university-affiliated retirement community (UARC), university-linked retirement community (ULRC), and university partner (UP).

Senior housing providers can benefit greatly from university partnerships.

Senior housing providers that have formed partnerships with colleges and universities have advantages when it comes to establishing valuable programming, keeping staffing levels high, and appealing to the next generation of U.S. retirees.

Conversely, universities can benefit greatly from partnerships with senior housing providers.

On-campus senior housing communities have proven to be a great way for cash-strapped universities to earn a few extra bucks, or a nice source of additional income for universities seeking to monetize unused land.

University partnerships aren’t always smooth sailing.

Universities notoriously work on “university time” — or at a slower pace than senior housing investors and developers are used to. This is one of several challenges, from the perspective of a senior housing company, that can arise when planning and building a UBRC.

UBRCs are the senior housing communities of the future.

Experts agree — partnering with colleges and universities will soon be all the rage among senior housing providers. In fact, some experts believe UBRCs will be mainstream within the next 20 years.

Senior Housing of the Future

Belmont Village Westwood, Los Angeles, California | Photo courtesy of Belmont Village Senior Living

Fostering strong ties with a university is one of the smartest moves a senior housing provider can make.

After all, senior housing communities with university connections — whether they can be classified as a “university-based retirement community” (UBRC) or they’re simply university-affiliated or university-linked — are truly the senior housing communities of the future, according to numerous industry experts.

Still, it’s critical for senior housing providers to approach UBRCs correctly. Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways for providers, universities and even developers to complicate the process, or even fail to attract enough residents to keep the communities up and running. However, those senior housing companies that are building successful UBRCs are enjoying immediate, lasting success in terms of occupancy, staffing, programming and more.

Paul Riepma, the vice president of marketing at Pacific Retirement Services, has come to this conclusion firsthand. He’s working to develop Mirabella at ASU, a senior living community on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, that’s set to break ground in February 2018.

So far, demand for the 20-story, 620,000-square-foot continuing care retirement community (CCRC) has surpassed Riepma’s wildest expectations. In fact, in terms of consumer interest, Mirabella at ASU has blown other communities he’s worked on out of the water.

“We have 404 households that have paid a $1,000 deposit to be on the [Mirabella at ASU] waiting list,” Riepma says. “In my 38 years of working in the field, I’ve never had that many households [sign up].”

Benefits of University Partnerships

The Village at Penn State, State College, Pennsylvania | Photo courtesy of Liberty Lutheran

Defining ‘University-Based Retirement Communities’

Not all university-affiliated senior housing communities can call themselves UBRCs.

To be classified as a UBRC, a senior housing community must meet a strict set of standards, says Andrew Carle, an adjunct professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Carle, widely credited as the person who first coined the term “UBRC,” is also the founding director of the university’s Program in Senior Housing Administration, the nation’s first academic program related to senior housing management.

His five criteria for establishing a successful UBRC are:

  • Shared programming. There should be formalized programming shared between the senior housing community and the university with which it is affiliated. “There’s really no point in [building a UBRC] if you’re not going to adopt the culture or the feel of the university,” Carle explains.
  • A full continuum of senior care. The senior housing community must offer a full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care. “The good ones are CCRCs,” Carle says of UBRCs. “Some of the ones that are not CCRCs I think have made a mistake.”
  • Financial ties between the community and the university. The university and the senior housing community should have a financial relationship, but the university should never operate the community. “I tell [universities], ‘do not try to own or operate one of these yourself.’ It’s senior housing, and it’s not what you do for a living,” Carle says.
  • Close proximity to the university campus. The community should be within about one mile of the university campus.
  • Residents with university connections. A minimum of 10% of residents should be alumni, former faculty or former employees of the nearby university. “Usually, if you do the other four things, that’s the easiest one to do,” Carle explains.

If a senior housing community meets all of these criteria, it can officially be classified as a UBRC™. If it meets three or four of these criteria, it is a ULRC™, or university-linked retirement community. If it meets one or two of the criteria, it’s a UARC™, or university-affiliated retirement community.

Even with this helpful checklist, it’s difficult to know exactly how many senior housing communities with university ties currently exist in the U.S. Many experts, including Carle, can only provide a rough estimate.

“There continues to be somewhere in the neighborhood of five- or six-dozen [UBRCs], but they haven’t been officially inventoried,” Carle says.

Senior Housing News identified at least 50 in its research.

As Carle notes, due to their potentially groundbreaking popularity, it’s critical for providers and universities to “do UBRCs right.”

“This would be by far the most popular, in-demand [senior housing] model, not even for the next generation of retirees, but for the current generation of retirees,” he says. “If [UBRCs] are done right, then they could be the next generation of senior housing.”


  • UBRC: Meets all 5 UBRC criteria
  • ULRC: Meets 3 or 4 UBRC criteria
  • UARC: Meets 1 or 2 UBRC criteria

Priorities Among 65+ Americans When Moving to a Retirement Community Affiliated with a College or University

Source: Survey— Assessing Consumer Interest in University-Based Retirement Communities. Senior Housing News, 2017
View of Stanford University from the Oval | Photo Courtesy of WIKI COMMONS

Though arguably understudied as an asset category, the active, intellectually stimulating and intergenerational environments that successful UBRCs create for their residents align with many of the lifestyle aspirations reported by baby boomers.

In fact, of the older adults who would consider moving into a retirement community, about 38% are more likely to consider a retirement community that is affiliated with a college or university than one that is not affiliated.

“The retirees want this. This is probably their first choice,” Carle says. “The demand for these is enormous. [Baby boomers are] the most highly educated demographic in history — we’ve been very loyal to our schools ever since.”

Likelihood to Consider a Retirement Community that is Affiliated with a College or University

Source: Survey— Assessing Consumer Interest in University-Based Retirement Communities. Senior Housing News, 2017

Abundant Workforce Opportunities for Providers

In order to meet growing consumer demand, the senior housing industry will have to attract 1.2 million workers by 2025, according to industry association Argentum.

For UBRCs, this doesn’t seem so daunting — especially because one of their “biggest perks is the access to high-quality student labor,” Carle says.

Several senior housing communities around the country have benefitted greatly from the availability of a high-quality young adult workforce, including Meadowood Retirement Community, an independent living, skilled nursing, health care and rehab community operated by Five Star Senior Living (Nasdaq: FVE) in Bloomington, Indiana.

Larry Diersing, for instance, has served as the executive director at Meadowood for the past six years, but he’s been working at the community for the last 34 — starting when he was a student at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus. His decision to work at a senior housing community at such a young age came about primarily due to geographic convenience: Meadowood sits just past the edge of the Indiana University campus, though it hasn’t had a direct tie to Indiana University for about 25 years.

“It all just sort of fell in my lap,” Diersing says. “I was just looking for a job as a sophomore to make some money, and through some personal contacts found this.”

Senior Living 2025 Workforce Projections

Source: Argentum analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Despite having no plans to pursue senior living professionally, Diersing began working in Meadowood’s kitchen at age 19 before eventually working in the community’s information technology (IT) department and as a health administrator at the community’s health center. Now, Meadowood regularly hires Indiana University students — an opportunity in which Diersing clearly sees value.

“We certainly do have an advantage for some of our frontline staff,” Diersing says. “Our wait staff in our dining room and our CNAs are IU students who are looking to make that extra income and be close to campus.”

The large student population at Indiana University — and students’ proclivity to work as dining staff at Meadowood — bodes well for the future of the senior living community. The senior living industry, after all, will need to attract about 231,600 new food service workers alone by 2025, including 31,400 waiters and waitresses, 20,600 dishwashers and 22,700 food preparation workers, according to Argentum. That’s in addition to the approximately 25,600 more registered nurses (RNs) the industry will have to hire.

Top Occupations in the Senior Living Industry

Universities educate and train many of the job functions that will be most needed in the coming years.
The following figures are based on 2012 to 2025 projections.

Source: Argentum analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Additionally, Indiana University students studying kinesiology visit Meadowood twice a week for several months out of the year to treat residents to a class on the topic of balance — a perk that naturally benefits both students and residents alike.

It’s actually quite common for senior housing communities with university ties to employ nearby college students. At The Village at Penn State, a senior housing community located on land owned by Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, many members of the community’s dining staff are students at Penn State. Additionally, Ellen Corbin, the community’s executive director, attended Penn State as an undergraduate.

That fact alone helped draw Corbin to her job.

“I’m a Penn State grad, [so] that made it pretty easy for me,” Corbin says.

Indiana University at Bloomington and Penn State’s main campus both enroll roughly 40,000 undergraduates per year — rendering the pool of potential senior housing employees for nearby UBRCs fairly large.

Still, senior housing communities partnering with smaller colleges also enjoy this specific perk. Lasell College, for instance, only enrolls 1,600 undergraduates per year, but the on-campus senior housing community operated by the private college in Newton, Massachusetts, continually enjoys a healthy, stable workforce.

“We’re the largest employer of students at the college,” says Anne Doyle, president of Lasell Village, the college’s senior housing community.

All the while, simply being affiliated with a university can help a senior housing community attract non-student workers, Carle says.

“Everybody wants to work at the ‘cool place’ — and the cool place in town is the UBRC,” he says. “I would argue that a UBRC not only gives you access to students in terms of labor — you become the employer of choice among senior housing communities in that market. Why work with the boring, generic community?”

AARP’s ‘10 Ideal College Towns for Retirement’

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan

2. Austin, Texas

3. Beaufort, South Carolina

4. Claremont, California

5. Durham, North Carolina

6. Fort Collins, Colorado

7. Gainesville, Florida

8. Northampton, Massachusetts

9. Oxford, Mississippi

10. State College, Pennsylvania

Source: AARP 2016

Students on Penn State campus | Photo Courtesy of wiki commons

Enhanced Marketing Capabilities for Communities

Maintaining high occupancy has presented a continual challenge for many senior housing communities, especially as new competition pops up nationwide.

With the help of nearby universities, though, some senior housing providers have found ways to avoid occupancy woes in these troubled times by successfully attracting new residents.

That’s certainly the case for Kennett Square, Pennsylvania-based The Kendal Corporation, which by its own count operates 11 senior housing communities with university ties. The provider is candid about how much its university partnerships help with its sales and marketing efforts, though some of its university-affiliated communities enjoy this benefit more than others.

“We have some colleges and universities [that] share their mailing list with us,” says Colleen Ryan Mallon, Kendal’s chief marketing officer. “That gives us a huge advantage.”

Other colleges that Kendal works with opt not to share their mailing lists with Kendal, though they might advertise Kendal’s community in various university newsletters, Mallon adds. Often, Kendal’s senior housing communities will also host university alumni when they return to campus for reunions or events, which helps get the word out to potentially interested older adults that the community exists.

At university-affiliated senior housing communities operated by another well-known provider, prospective residents who are alumni actually enjoy being prioritized when it comes to moving in.

That provider, Houston-based Belmont Village Senior Living, currently operates two communities with university ties: Belmont Village at Albany, affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and Belmont Village Westwood, affiliated with the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Both UCLA and UC Berkeley are actively involved in choosing who gets to move into the respective senior housing communities, according to Belmont Village Chief Investment Officer Margaret Scott.

Awareness of University-Based Retirement Communities

Source: Survey— Assessing Consumer Interest in University-Based Retirement Communities. Senior Housing News, 2017

“A priority entrance waitlist is established by the university at both communities, with emeriti at the top of the list,” Scott says. “[The universities] make the decision on who would get the first choice to move in.”

Delegating this task to universities has certainly paid off at Belmont Village Westwood — it’s been 100% leased, with a waitlist, for three years in a row. Scott credits UCLA’s involvement as being “really important” in achieving this milestone.

All the while, it’s possible that UBRCs as a whole have a marketing problem. That’s because only about 24% of older adults who would consider moving into a retirement community are even aware of the concept of university-based retirement communities.

Mirabella at ASU, Tempe, Arizona | Rendering courtesy of Ankrom Moisan Architects, Inc.

Impressive Programming Opportunities

At many university-affiliated senior housing communities, residents walk in the metaphorical shoes of college students.

There are plenty of obvious ways this can occur: residents can attend university sporting events, student recitals or touring plays at discounted rates, for instance. But some senior housing communities take university partnerships a step further and allow residents to actually enroll in courses and utilize resources meant for students.

This is a smart move, because if they were to consider moving into a retirement community that is affiliated with a college or university, more than 45% of adults between the ages of 65 and 90 would consider shared programming important to them.

The folks behind Mirabella at ASU know this. Once it opens in the fall of 2020, Mirabella at ASU will provide each of its approximately 500 residents with an Arizona State University student ID card. The ID card will offer residents an opportunity to audit ASU classes, as well as attend university lectures and events, while giving them full access to the university’s library system, and more, Pacific Retirement Services Vice President Paul Riepma says.

He believes this specific offering has contributed to the staggering number of households — 404 — that have already paid a $1,000 deposit to live at Mirabella at ASU.

“People who love the arts and believe in lifelong learning have been very excited about this project and have voted with their checkbook,” Riepma says. “The real attraction is this university-inspired lifestyle.”

Of course, future Mirabella at ASU residents don’t need to take advantage of their ASU student ID card — it’s entirely up to them if they choose to use it. Residents of the Lasell Village life plan community, meanwhile, have no choice but to take their education seriously.


value shared programming

When considering a university-based retirement community, 45% of adults between 65 and 90 would consider shared programming important to them.

Source: Survey— Assessing Consumer Interest in University-Based Retirement Communities. Senior Housing News, 2017

That’s because virtually every resident of Lasell Village is required to complete 450 credit hours per calendar year at Lasell College, according to Lasell Village president Anne Doyle.

“All of our residents take classes,” Doyle says. “There’s a very, very small subset whose physical or health needs are such that it makes it difficult for them to take classes, and they receive a waiver.”

This means that the vast majority of Lasell Village residents regularly take classes at the college, as well as classes held at the Village that are taught by faculty from nearby institutions, including Lasell College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or Boston University.

To receive credit hours, residents have to complete all of their class readings and assignments — but they don’t have to write big papers or take final exams.

For residents, registering for classes each trimester is “a lot of fun,” Doyle says.

“Imagine an Apple store opening with a new product,” she says, describing the scene on registration day. “They do line up very early.”

At Meadowood Retirement Community in Bloomington, Indiana, residents regularly enjoy musical performances from Indiana University students due to Meadowood’s status as an official recital hall for the university’s Jacobs School of Music, Meadowood Executive Director Larry Diersing says. Residents’ interactions with Indiana University often don’t end there, though.

In fact, if a Meadowood resident is interested in starting or participating in a university-sponsored project, “we know who on IU’s campus they can reach out to to help that resident,” Diersing says.

It’s unique opportunities like these — together with all of the sporting events, musical performances and museum collections that most college towns offer — that can make living in any university-affiliated senior housing community feel like an undeniably urban experience, no matter how densely populated the area actually is.

“Being right next to a campus makes a smaller Midwestern town feel rather metropolitan,” Diersing says.

St. John’s on the Lake, Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Photo courtesy of St. John’s on the Lake

What universities stand to gain

Kendal at Oberlin, Oberlin, Ohio | Photo courtesy of The Kendal Corp.

As it turns out, senior housing communities can be a great way for cash-strapped universities to earn a few extra bucks.

That line of thinking inspired an upcoming senior living community on the campus of Purchase College, SUNY, according to Elizabeth C. Robertson, director of government relations and strategic projects at the college.

The planned community, Broadview – Senior Living at Purchase College, will be operated by Des Moines, Iowa-based LCS and is tentatively scheduled to break ground in 2019. The community will be built on land owned by SUNY, and will be located “literally within a minute’s walk of the closest academic building,” says Todd Shaw, LCS’ senior project development manager.

Purchase College relies heavily on funding from the state of New York, which is both a blessing and a curse, Shaw suggests.

“Most states’ budgets are constrained,” he explains.

As a result, Purchase College decided to look into ways it could generate additional funding.

“The thinking was: is there a way to look at our land and… monetize a portion of it to provide additional funds for scholarship support and faculty support?” Robertson explains.

Purchase College polled its faculty and found that they were “very supportive” of building a senior housing community on campus to help generate additional funds, Robertson adds. Additionally, they viewed a senior housing community as an opportunity to enhance both geriatric and art therapy programming.

Once it’s operational, 25% of Broadview’s proceeds will fund faculty hiring and support, and the remaining 75% will fund student scholarships.

“It’s a socially valuable way to earn more funding for the school,” Shaw says.

Lasell Village, the senior housing community on the campus of Lasell College, was built for similar reasons. Though Lasell College does not rely on state funding — it’s a private, four-year institution — it recently experienced a bout of financial turmoil.

“Lasell [College] was very, very financially challenged” a few years ago, Lasell Village President Anne Doyle says. At the time, the college realized it could potentially utilize a recently-donated parcel of land to do something “financially promising,” Doyle says.

The thinking was: is there a way to look at our land and… monetize a portion of it to provide additional funds for scholarship support and faculty support?

Elizabeth C. Robertson, Director of Government Relations and Strategic Projects at Purchase College

“Through a series of community and stakeholder meetings, we came upon having senior living,” she explains.

So, Lasell College built Lasell Village — and now the college simultaneously owns and runs the life plan community.

“Lasell Village is the only senior living community that I know of… that is essentially operated by a college,” Doyle says.

Meanwhile, Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, doesn’t operate the CCRC on its campus — but its construction benefitted the university greatly.

Stanford first decided to look into senior housing in the 1990s as a way to free up faculty housing occupied by retired faculty, according to Vi President Randy Richardson.

At the time, Stanford “had a lot of retired faculty living on campus in faculty housing,” Richardson explains, which, in a way, made it difficult for Stanford to recruit new, young professors.

“Palo Alto is rather expensive, and it became difficult for the university to recruit new faculty into the area without somehow subsidizing their living expense,” Richardson says. Ideally, the university would offer to house young faculty in faculty housing, but the space was being used by retired professors.

So, the university put out a request for proposals, and Vi won the opportunity to work on the project.

“We were then engaged with Stanford Management, and figured out a way to get the community developed and make it work,” Richardson says.

Of the older adults who have been employed by a four-year college or university and would also consider moving into a retirement community, over 24% are more likely to move to a retirement community that is affiliated with the college or university where they worked than another retirement community. Similarly, just over 24% of older adults who have graduated from a four-year college or university and would also consider moving into a retirement community are more likely to move to a retirement community that is affiliated with their alma mater.

Retirement Community Preferences of Retired Four-Year College and University Employees or Alumni

Source: Survey— Assessing Consumer Interest in University-Based Retirement Communities. Senior Housing News, 2017

Challenges of University Partnerships

Rochester Institute of Technology | Photo courtesy of Princeton review

Working on ‘University Time’

For some senior housing companies, partnering with a university could result in tested patience.

Universities, after all, work on “university time,” according to Andrew Carle. This means that universities tend to spend more time making decisions — and finalizing plans — than most other businesses or organizations.

When universities have a new idea for a project, for instance, “they’ll explain it to a subcommittee, a task force and a work group” before acting on it, Carle explains.

LCS has learned this through its work with Purchase College on the upcoming Broadview community.

“The biggest challenge is that university systems are… definitely made up of people,” says Todd Shaw, LCS’ senior project development manager. “There’s a lot of different faculty and staff involved. [Purchase College has] really made it a point to reach out to faculty, staff and students to get their input and make them part of the process.”

In fact, the idea for a senior living community at Purchase College was first bounced around 15 years ago, according to Elizabeth C. Robertson, director of government relations and strategic projects at the college. State legislative approval for the project was finally achieved in 2011. Still, the project isn’t likely to break ground until some time in 2019.

This relatively slow pace can irk senior housing developers and operators, who are used to moving through the development process more quickly, Carle says.

“[UBRCs] are great ideas, but the problem is that [senior housing companies] don’t have three, four or five years to stand around waiting to get this thing open,” he says.

Universities’ relatively slow pace can be attributed to any number of factors, suggests Danielle Glorioso, the executive director of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Center for Healthy Aging. UCSD is considering partnering on a senior housing community, but the institution is “very much still in the discussion stages,” adds Dilip Jeste, the Center for Healthy Aging’s director.

Deciding to get into senior housing can be “a very long process” for universities, Glorioso admits.

“Because we’re educators, we’re not in the business of senior housing,” she explains. “Universities would need to find just the right senior housing operator to partner with.”

At the same time, it can be difficult to ensure that a UBRC is affordable for prospective residents.

“When you are a public university, it really looks bad if you’re putting out the Rolls Royce senior living community that only 1% folks can afford,” Glorioso says. “That would really be frowned upon.”

Purchase College has really made it a point to reach out to faculty, staff and students to get their input and make them part of the process.

Todd Shaw, Senior Project Development Manager at LCS

All the while, the approach used by many universities when it comes to deciding on new projects does have some benefits, Shaw notes.

“While [the process] does slow things down sometimes, it does allow people to feel a part of the project,” he says.

Other Red Flags

Besides longer-than-usual project timelines, there are other red flags that senior housing companies should watch out for before breaking ground on a UBRC.

Sometimes, the projects are driven too strongly by emotion, and not strongly enough by actual need, according Michael Starke, president and CEO of national market research and consulting firm PMD Advisory Services.

“A pitfall in a number of these projects… [is that] when we’re brought in, there’s a big emotional component in it,” Starke says. In some cases, he says, the alumni or retired faculty who originally came up with the idea to build a senior housing community “are convinced this is ‘it,’ but the reality is that they’re looking for the place they want to go, but there’s only five to 10 of them, and sometimes that doesn’t bode well in the larger market.”

Senior housing developers, in other words, need to set any emotional component aside and instead conduct market feasibility studies to decide whether or not to build a UBRC. In cases where this is not done — where the people behind the project are simply “convinced it will be fine” — the projects can fail, Starke notes.

Starke has seen this happen firsthand.

“The reality of the market did not support [the community],” Starke explains, describing a failed university-linked senior housing community that he dealt with. “The location was not a good location. And the consumer research that was done indicated that it wasn’t a good location or a good project.”

Also, Starke notes, senior housing companies should be 100% certain that their university partners are fully committed to and enthusiastic about the project before breaking ground.

“If the developer is pitching and pushing hard and not getting a really overwhelming, warm response from the university, that should be a yellow flag,” Starke says. “I’ve seen some developers that are willing to ignore that.”

Still, ignoring it is unwise, he argues.

“It’s a critical thing that the university is committed to the project and engaged with it,” he concludes.

Source: Survey— Assessing Consumer Interest in University-Based Retirement Communities. Senior Housing News, 2017

Rivers Run at RIT: A Failed University Partnership

Rivers Run at RIT, a former senior housing community affiliated with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York, was built about nine years ago — but it was only in business for a little over six years, says Sara Connor, program coordinator of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at RIT.

The reasons it failed? Location issues, cost issues, and a general lack of interest among potential residents.

Nine years ago, RIT sold a parcel of land about two miles away from its main campus to a senior housing company, with the idea that a senior housing community built on the land could house RIT’s Osher Institute, as well as host the classes and programs that the lifelong-learning program offers.

“It was built with the idea that [the senior housing company] would work together with RIT and give the people who moved into Rivers Run access to classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute,” Connor says.

Unfortunately, older adults who took classes at Osher simply weren’t willing to spend the money required to move into Rivers Run. Connor suspects the actual location of Rivers Run was to blame.

“If we had been in a different space — closer to downtown Rochester — it probably would have been more successful,” she says. The heart of RIT’s main campus is about seven miles from downtown.

In this case, Connor might be onto something. After all, of the older adults who would consider moving into a retirement community, over 40% say the prospect of retiring within five miles of a college or university is “not important.” Still, about 30% say the prospect is “somewhat important,” “important” or “very important.”

Today, Rivers Run has been transformed into the Greenwood Cove Apartments, which are owned by Pittsford, New York-based Morgan Communities.


Rivers Run, which was located seven miles from downtown Rochester, may have been more successful if it was closer to the city center.

The Admiral at the Lake, Chicago, Illinois | Photo courtesy of The Kendal Corp.

The Admiral at the Lake, Chicago, Illinois | Photo courtesy of The Kendal Corp.

Looking Ahead: A Mainstream Senior Housing Model

Kendal at Hanover, Hanover, New Hampshire | Photo courtesy oF THE KENDAL CORP.

If industry experts are to be believed, the U.S. will soon start seeing plenty more senior housing communities with university ties.

UBRCs, after all, are what most retirees want, according to Andrew Carle. “They are probably [retirees’] first choice,” he says.

Even so, there has yet to be a single senior housing provider that has figured out how to easily replicate the UBRC model in different locations, with different colleges or universities. In other words, Carle says, there isn’t a roadmap for providers to follow, or a standardized model for senior housing developers to adopt.

“There is no one provider that has sat down and said, ‘We are going to target schools and meet these criteria and create a franchise model that we can replicate,’” Carle says.

This fact doesn’t deter PMD Advisory Services President and CEO Michael Starke from agreeing with Carle that senior housing communities with university ties will soon be all the rage.

“I think within 20 years it will be in the mainstream,” Starke says. “I think that most universities will probably, within 20 years, have a more active adult-type product, or a senior living-type product, on the campus.”