Trends in Active Adult Communities
Design to Emphasize Independence, Wellness, Connectivity
As more baby boomers enter retirement, households are downsizing and there has been a shift in demand for active adult communities. These communities are typically designed and constructed for residents aged 55 and up. Residents are drawn to an independent, maintenance-free living environment that supports wellness, learning, convenience, and engagement.
Residents of these communities value amenities; builders and developers regularly turn to Curtis Miner Architecture (CMA) to plan and design living and amenity spaces that not only cater to current lifestyles but also the next stages in residents’ lives. The blend of healthcare and hospitality is one of the greatest benefits CMA Principal Mike Anderson, AIA, NCARB, sees in senior communities. “A number of the active adult communities we’ve worked on are located adjacent to or within the same block as an assisted living facility,” he explains. This blend of living in a home with access to health and medical services facilitates a transition from one to the other without significant relocation.
While market demands may vary, individual residence design is key to making the living experience desirable. CMA is currently working on several active adult communities including Bri at Station Park in Farmington, Utah in collaboration with Brighton Corporation and CenterCal Properties. The best-in-class residences feature one- and two-bedroom floorplans with open layouts, natural sunlight, and designer finishes.
Connectivity is key for residents of active adult communities, and the technology and infrastructure needed to support it are critical. Whether Zooming with grandkids or working remotely, Mike points to the addition of a den space within a number of unit types that can double as an office. Media and business centers are another way CMA allows communities to address connectivity. In addition to home automation, smart devices, and other technological features, Mike has noticed developer interest in providing independent power solutions (i.e., photovoltaic systems with battery backup). Vehicle charging stations for electric cars are also now commonplace.
Amenities that support involvement, recreation, and cultural opportunities help create a sense of place and purpose for residents. When Bri at Station Park opens in 2023, residents will enjoy an expansive clubhouse and outdoor courtyard with outdoor gathering areas and gardens.
Mike recognizes the senior housing sector is one that will continue to grow. The business model of active adult communities can be for-sale or for-rent and developers must accurately define the buyer profile and design to attract investment and residents. CMA is seeing active adult communities as one of many product types included in a master planned development. “The market study helps identify which product types are in demand as well as the pricing that supports the developer’s proforma,” shares Mike. “Perhaps more than ever before, we’ve seen developer interest in building and maintaining this type of product as long-term owners.”
As the demand for active adult communities and their amenities and services evolves, so will CMA’s design solutions as we listen to the populations we serve.