What is an Urban Alternative?
An Urban Alternative Community is an emerging development concept that utilizes the services, amenities, common areas, amenities and health services offered by existing Life Plan Communities with an age-targeted residential development located in the nearby urban center.Both locations benefit from the strengths of each community, reducing costs by taking advantage of complimentary amenities and services.
Research and history reveal that the current model of a Life Plan or Continuing Care Retirement Community attracts about 10% of the age and income-qualified adults in its primary market area. A Continuing Care at Home program allows an organization to extend its penetration to a younger and perhaps more distant customer than the 10% of the market attracted to CCRCs.For some communities, Urban Alternative expansions can attract an entirely different group, an emerging type of customer that increases the number of lives your team betters, even further.
Do Not Build Redundant Buildings (Again)!
Many organizations are landlocked and look to develop an entirely new community… with all the common areas and health services accommodations a life plan community offers. Replacing just a skilled nursing building can cost as much in today’s dollars as a full campus did a decade ago. Urban Alternative community members have direct access to all the common areas and health services residences of the mother ship, affording communities an opportunity to counteract the national trend of decreasing healthcare occupancy. This also relieves the organization from both massive investment in new construction and ongoing investments in additional highly-trained team members. Big common areas, exercise facilities, pools, media rooms and auditoriums are often described as non-revenue producing spaces. These large public areas can be taken advantage of by both groups of residents without doubling down on precious construction dollars.
Redundancies in Services and Amenities
Many customers who are passionate about urban areas feel this way because of access to a wide variety of things to do, such as frequenting eateries, museums, entertainment opportunities, and classes.Rather than create additional social spaces and programming, the Urban Alternative Community simply offers concierge services to arrange for personal desires within the walkable offerings of the city. With the growth of modern transportation systems such as Uber and Lyft, the concierge can plan an evening and ensure safe and convenient door-to-door travel.Residents are drawn to the plethora of experiences afforded by urban living and the community benefits from reduced costs since it is not necessary to staff both campuses with similar team members.
The Urban Alternative Community engages a new, emerging customer and offers the potential of extending your organization’s reach.This new way to expand also provides great economy over traditional new campus development. Some communities are perfectly positioned to consider the Urban Alternative, and next week we will explore the key indicators that suggest a community may be well-poised for this initiative.
Also read our introductory blog to the urban senior: Preparing for a New Consumer.
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.