Senior Living Community to Emulate 1920s with Paid Actors, Opulent Amenities

A forthcoming senior living community hopes to transport residents to the Roaring Twenties with a slate of amenities that includes actors in top hats and coat tails, Cadillac shuttling services and possibly even access to private jets.

The property, dubbed The Grand Royale, is coming together in the Kansas City suburb of Gladstone, Missouri. As planned, the community will have 34 units for independent living, 43 assisted living units and 28 units for skilled nursing residents. It’s currently on track to welcome its first independent living residents next month, with the rest arriving by the end of the year.

Urbane Healthcare, a senior living and skilled nursing provider headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, is the company behind The Grand Royale. Urbane has one other property, a farm-style senior living and skilled nursing community in Puryear, Tennessee, called The Farms at Puryear.

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At The Grand Royale, amenities for residents include a theater, multiple dining venues, a barbershop and beauty parlor, billiards, a five-and-dime store and a children’s play area — all carrying 1920s-themed names and designs. The community will also have some relatively unique offerings, such as a speakeasy-style bar, lavishly dressed paid actors and, for residents who are willing to pay for it, rides in Cadillacs and possibly private jets on demand.

The community’s design will also help conjure that period in time. In creating The Grande Royale, Urbane gutted a shuttered skilled nursing facility and redeveloped it into a property with art deco-inspired design features. The community’s $13 million development costs were funded by private investors.

The overarching idea is to emulate the opulence of the 1920s, according to Urbane Healthcare CEO Daniel Stockdale.

“With the ‘20s coming back up upon us, it was an opportunity to put our own spin on what we imagined life was like back then,” Stockdale told Senior Housing News. “Even our door greeter is going to have a top hat, coat tails and all. He or she is going to be a paid actor who is there to entertain guests.”

Residents can pay for three levels of care and services: “silver,” an all-inclusive package starting at $3,000 per month; “gold” for $5,000; and “diamond” for $10,000 per month. At the highest end of that range, residents will have access to a private concierge service meant to offer them “anything they want,” Stockdale said. Other perks at that level include a personal shopper and a chauffeured luxury vehicle.

“We’re also entertaining partnerships with a couple companies that provide jets, and a few others, to make sure our concierge can get our residents … anywhere they want in the world,” he explained. “That includes even VIP reservations somewhere in Paris, provided you’re willing to foot the bill for that.”

All of the community’s residents will also receive an Apple Watch meant to monitor for falls, track heart rates and prompt movement and exercise.

The Grand Royale represents a new focus on hospitality and entertainment for Urbane. The community’s activities and programming budget will likely be at least $5,000 per month, which is much larger than the $500 to $1,000 a month other similar communities budget for activities, Stockdale said.

But focusing on hospitality is necessary, as it’s what the baby boomers will want as they move into senior housing en masse over the next decade, he added.

“Clinical excellence is a requirement, and that’s nothing new,” Stockdale said. “But, we’re also in the hospitality and entertainment business, and we have a long-term resident who doesn’t want to be bored for the next 10 or 15 years.”

Stockdale sees the potential to develop, acquire or manage senior living communities all over the U.S., with The Grand Royale serving as a proof of concept. So far, Stockdale has identified 26 sites for future growth.

“My goal for 2020 is to do 15 deals, and I’m hoping that will be half new development, half up-and-running,” he said. “We’re willing to do that through a variety of ways, including with REITs and private investors.”

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