The Bristal Assisted Living opened the doors at its newest community this April, adding to a growing number of luxury senior living communities in New York City.
The community, called the Bristal at York Avenue, represents the first venture into Manhattan for The Bristal Assisted Living – the assisted living and memory care brand owned by the Engel Burman Group.
With the opening of the community, the Bristal joins Sunrise Senior Living, Watermark Retirement Communities, Maplewood Senior Living, Atria Senior Living and Brookdale Senior Living in an increasingly hot New York City market.
The York Avenue community is the 23rd assisted living and memory care community operated by the Bristal, with its 24th scheduled to open in the coming weeks and plans to expand to Florida coming later this year.
The Bristal at York Avenue is a 14-story assisted living and memory care community with 132 studio units located on the Upper East Side neighborhood of the city.
Forty-four of the 132 units are dedicated to memory care and every unit is a studio, according to Faraz Kayani, regional director of operations at the Bristal Assisted Living.
Residents will live on floors 2-13 with each floor containing 11 units. Four floors will be dedicated to memory care units that are outfitted with the Foresite Predictive Health and Fall Management System.
Foresite equips units with a series of sensors and monitors that can predict and detect falls and alert staff to their phones.
According to Kayani, the boutique nature of the community differentiates it from other luxury senior living communities recently entering the city.
When residents and families have come in for tours, small size is “one of their biggest concerns. They don’t want large footprints,” said Kayani.
Though every unit in the community is a studio, residents have an option to combine units to create what is essentially a one-bedroom apartment. Monthly rates range from $12,800 to $20,150, but should residents opt to combine units, utilizing one as a living area, rates start at $19,800.
“We wouldn’t charge them double,” Kayani said.
Furthermore, each floor has its own dining and activity/living area, allowing for a more intimate sense of community — and flexibility should future pandemics demand social distancing. There also are larger amenity spaces elsewhere in the building, including a first-floor dining room and 14th-floor fitness center, salon and sky park.
The Bristal at York Avenue is now in its fifth week of operations, and demand is heating up because Manhattan-based older adults want to see the physical location before committing – virtual galleries won’t do, according to Kayani.
“For the five weeks [since opening], we’re seeing one of the highest leads coming in compared to any of our properties on Long Island. We have deposits with admissions close to 20%,” said Kayani.
So far, the majority of the residents have been local to the Manhattan area, but one couple moved from Florida to age in closer proximity to their children in the city, Kayani said.
Being in the city is the reason residents are willing to pay higher rates.
“Once you’re a Manhattanite, it’s hard to… go retire elsewhere,” said Kayani.
The Bristal recognized the need to be a part of the cultural scene of Manhattan living. To prepare, the company designated a director of business development three years prior to welcoming residents with the aim of creating and managing relationships with some of the city’s most prominent institutions.
The community now has partnerships with New York City pillars like The Julliard School, Lincoln Center and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to name a few. The New York University School of Drama and the Pratt Institute are allowing students to work with a licensed creative art therapist to perform residents and thus fulfill a graduation requirement.
“Most importantly, we’re using drama and music therapy to help folks with dementia,” Kayani said.
Creative arts therapists will be utilized to help a resident re-acclimate and adjust to their environment when needed. This is another differentiator, according to Kayani, who said:
“No one else is doing that.”