Service enriched condominium and co-op projects are beginning to surface in large markets in Illinois, Texas, Virginia and California with a particularly high concentration in the Chicago area. We have come to expect a monthly fee associated with a condominium that pays for capital improvements, exterior maintenance and common insurance, however, in this newly developed model an array of additional services are also included on an optional basis at an additional cost. These extra services could include meals, housekeeping, transportation, case management and personal care services such as an on-site beautician or massage therapist. According to Michael Hargrave, research director at The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care Industry (ww.nic.org) about 30 to 40 such projects have been implemented or are currently under construction. The underlying concept driving this innovation in the real estate market is that “baby boomers”, more so than their prior generation, would rather own than rent thus making this living arrangement more appealing than assisted living as the service enriched condo can be sold when it is time to move elsewhere.
Two distinct types of these living units appear to be evolving – the simpler model includes only meals and housekeeping, whereas the “full-service” program includes nursing, medication monitoring, personal care services and various therapies. Similar to assisted living, an individual’s capacity to walk a certain distance is required in order to live at these properties. Developers are experimenting with both a pay-as-you go approach to the additional services as well as various meal plans. In some cases residents pay one monthly fee and then have a certain amount of points to use toward any of the aforementioned services they wish to purchase.
This type of development is not available in Western New York at this point, however, it’s likely that this and other innovative approaches to housing o accommodate the baby boomer generation are in our near future.