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VOL. 11 | NO. 12 | Saturday, March 24, 2018

$23M HarborChase Slated For Completion in 2019

By Don Wade

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In just 12 years, one out of every five Americans will be 65 or older. In the senior housing industry, the Greatest Generation is increasingly giving way to their children, the baby boomers. And that means developers and operators are changing retirement communities to suit the tastes of this next wave of residents.

“Their expectations of a quality lifestyle are very different than their parents,” said Charlie Jennings, chief development director with Harbor Retirement Associates.

In March, Senior Confluent Living and HRA began construction on a $23 million, 114,450-square-foot senior living facility in East Memphis that will include 123 apartments. Scheduled for completion in 2019, according to Confluent managing director John Reinsma, the property will be marketed as an upscale retirement community but licensed as an assisted living facility.

Although not technically in Germantown, the name will be HarborChase of Germantown and the market research done before purchasing the parcel of land on Briarcrest Avenue for $4 million focused on a five-mile radius. Jennings says their research showed that similar retirement communities were maintaining an occupancy rate of 95 to 97 percent.

The $23 million HarborChase of Germantown will feature 123 apartments, multiple dining options, a bar/lounge, salon and dedicated chapel in an upscale setting on Briarcrest Avenue. (harborchase.com)

“That’s a good indication that not only are existing communities doing well, but there will be unmet demand,” he said.

HarborChase of Germantown will not be a buy-in property, but rather operate on an annual agreement basis with a monthly fee that Jennings says has not been determined; he classified the community and its cost as “upscale.”

Back in 1991, the American Senior Housing Association was created to represent the interests of the more than 500 companies involved in the finance, development and operation of senior housing communities. The American Senior Housing Association has its own political action committee, too. That’s how big this industry has become.

And the industry is undergoing dramatic change as the population of residents living in senior housing shifts. Jennings says members of the Greatest Generation had collectively endured and survived so many hardships, they often were just happy to be around at, say, age 85, and “pretty compliant” within an assisted living framework.

By definition, he says, being in assisted living means the person already had some disruption in their daily living. “A loss of independence,” Jennings said.

But even with growing daily challenges, baby boomers want to hang on to every part of their lifestyle that they can. And that will be reflected in all the amenities offered at HarborChase of Germantown. Everything from gardens on the outside to multiple dining options, a bar/lounge, a salon with massage and manicure/pedicure service, and a dedicated chapel.

The latter is not something that is necessarily a part of all the project partners’ other senior living communities. But again, research showed this was not optional in the Bible Belt.

“One of the things we identified early is most people attend church,” Jennings said. “That’s not the case in a lot of areas of the country.”

Baby boomers are used to everything being branded, and there will be no shortage of branding here. The main dining room will be called Signatures, the still-nicer steakhouse-like restaurant The Grill Room, the bar/lounge will be called Fusion, and an informal bistro will be known as Counter Offer.

Across their 30-property portfolio – and this property is one of eight under construction – Jennings says they have learned the vital importance of the dining experience for residents, whose average age is 86.

“When you can’t do what you used to do, dinner is a big deal,” he said. “It’s a chance to get up and do your hair and present in a social environment.”

The exterior of the building design calls for white columns, and the overall look will resemble an oversized mansion.

“From an aesthetics standpoint, it’s extremely important to make sure the building has a feel to it and a character,” Reinsma said. “We wanted it to make sense, to fit in.”

The property is one block from Poplar Avenue and Regalia Shopping Center, and trips for shopping or to take in the arts is part of the resort-style environment the community is promoting. Location, Jennings says, is not only key for residents but their children.

Research, he says, shows that on average the person choosing the retirement community for mom and dad is a first-born daughter that is 53 years old.

“She’s looking for an option convenient to her busy life,” Jennings said.

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