Thursday afternoon the 50+ Housing Forum hosted a Developer Panel The Future Begins Now, A 50+ Developer Panel moderated by Helen Foster of Foster Strategy, LLC. Panelists were:
- Mitch Brown, Chief Development Officer, Kisco Senior Living
- Deborah Blake, Principal, The Ipsum Group, LLC
- Robert Upton, Campus Properties, LLC
Mitch Brown and Robert Upton spoke on Specific 50+ communities with which they are involved. Deborah Blake discussed the need for innovation in Active Adult and Age Targeted Communities, which we'll cover below:
Blake began by noting that the history of age restricted/active adult communities (AACs) has left the market with a large inventory of conventional 2bd/2ba homes, that not only create competition for new builds, but also lack imagination and are unsuitable for the changing needs and desires of the emerging 50+ market.
Commenting that community builders must recognize that they don't just compete with other builders, Ms Blake stated that prospective buyers are also choosing to satisfy their felt needs from non-builder competitors such as Lifetime Fitness. Todays community developers must accomodate the 50+ market across new dimensions of time, place, and shifting needs.
Blake underscored the importance of providing prospects more reasons to buy than before. The if you build it, they will come mentality of sunbelt senior citizen communities no longer applies. She also noted poor design examples such as microwave-hoods place high over cooking surfaces and lack of storage. At the same time, Ms. Blake credited industry leaders such as Mary Jo Peterson for pioneering work in the area of universal design.
Not without her own solutions, (Blake has many years experience with Del Webb and Pulte), she suggests that builders consider homes with laundry rooms near the master bedroom and more convenient garages located next to kitchens. She also recommends homes with dual master suites, as well as homes designed to accomodate multigenerational sandwich generation needs with mother-in-law suites, and casitas.
The Future Begins Now, and thought leaders such as Deborah Blake are pointing the way with strategies and perspectives on preparing for what lies ahead.