OPAL by element receives Development Permit
September 15, 2016 – VANCOUVER, BC. Element Lifestyle Retirement Inc. (TSXV- ELM) is proud to announce final stage approval with the issuance of a development permit from the City of Vancouver for OPAL by element, (the “Opal Project”) its flagship retirement residence in Cambie Village. Construction of the Opal Project is fully financed and is anticipated to begin as soon as demolition and excavation permits are approved this fall.
Located in the core of Vancouver’s premier West Side on the Cambie Corridor, the $97.4 million project features a courtyard and rooftop patios, it enjoys views of downtown, mountains toward the north, and Queen Elizabeth Park towards the south. The Opal Project consists of plans for a lifestyle retirement community to be constructed, which will be comprised of approximately 142,000 square feet with 44 seniors residential condominium units (these units will be available for sale to seniors), 56 seniors rental units, and 30 seniors Complex Care units.
Element is the development and operations consultant to Opal Retirement Inc., the owner of the Opal Project, and as such is managing the development of the Opal Project to its completion. Pursuant to the consulting agreement, Element is earning fees for meeting development milestones and will earn recurring revenues for managing the operations of the Opal Project after completion.
Under the leadership of Element’s President and Founder, Don Ho, who pioneered the aging-in-place retirement living concept, OPAL encompasses the complete spectrum of lifestyles, from Independent Living and Assisted Living rental and condominium suites, to Memory Care and Licensed Complex Care. OPAL will span an entire city block, on the south side of King Edward between Yukon and Cambie.
“We are very pleased to receive final approval from the City of Vancouver and are excited to begin construction, likely within this fall,” says Candy Ho, vice president, marketing & corporate relations. “There is overwhelming demand. From the immediate surrounding neighborhood, residents have been aware of our project through the City of Vancouver’s public notices, public meetings and their website. Arising out of this process, the number of registrations is four times greater than the number of suites we have available. Since last fall,a significant group of registrants have proactively contacted us repeatedly to express continued genuine interest, for both our rental units and our condominiums.”
OPAL will allow seniors the chance to rent or own their unit. Residents will be able to continue their active, independent lifestyles as long as possible and find higher levels of care under the same roof when their lifestyles change and the need arises. OPAL will feature 44 condominiums and 56 rentals. There will also be 30 Complex Care suites providing 24-hour professional nursing in a licenced care area.
Statistics Canada projects that seniors will become more numerous than children in Canada by 2017. While Canada undergoes a major demographic shift and enters an era of a rapidly aging population, Element helps cater to the needs of the booming market through offering an entire spectrum of lifestyle options.
“With each residence we design and build, we provide a diverse range of services and amenities, to cultivate and foster a true feeling of family connection and community. This spiritually enriching environment is the foundation for holistic wellness. We also provide peace of mind in our delivery of 24-hour professional nursing care in a setting that is equipped with advanced technology, but aesthetically warm and residential,” says Ms. Ho.
She continues passionately about intergenerational programming. “We believe that ‘home’ is grounding and comforting. It isn’t only about how warmly our staff treat our residents, but also how comfortable and encouraged our residents feel to invite their friends and family to visit and participate in our activities on a regular basis. We want to provide an environment where they enjoy a deep sense of comfort, connection and purpose.”
To this end, OPAL will feature dedicated spaces and structured facilitation for seniors to have meaningful interactions with their grandchildren through activities such as circle reading time, life story sharing, and teaching knitting, sewing, planting and harvesting.
This breakthrough concept of intergenerational living has been so well received that Ms. Ho has a number of adult children in their mid 50’s who have indicated genuine interest in purchasing a unit in OPAL to reside in the same residence to be integrated in the daily lives of their senior parents.
An engaging culinary program will provide opportunities for seniors and children to enjoy cooking sessions together. There will be a communal table for larger groups of friends and family to gather in a casual, open space, and private dining and living rooms that would allow children to break out and play freely while adults continue in conversation. Meals will not merely meet individual dietary requirements, they will also be culinary and social experiences that residents look forward to each day.
OPAL’s culinary experience is led by two specialists in fine dining. The kitchen was designed by the same architect responsible for some of Vancouver’s top restaurants, such as Lumiere by Rob Feenie, Cioppino’s, Cin Cin, Tojo’s, and Vancouver Club, to name a few. The culinary program’s vision has been jointly developed between Ms. Ho and Element’s branding Executive Chef, who was professionally trained in Europe, and successfully launched multiple restaurants of European and Asian cuisines for international brands at five-star resorts in both North America and China.
In addition to developing and operating its own residences, Element offers management consulting services to companies starting up or improving its retirement communities. Experienced in partnering with residences and offering tailored services in management, development and operations for short- and long-term contracts, its early business efforts are concentrated on expansion across Canada, serving wherever there is need, and focusing on the province of British Columbia.
Element’s executive team of senior living industry experts, collectively, has more than 50 years of experience in developing, operating and cultivating leadership for senior residences across North America. With its team of industry leaders, Element has the advantage of entering the market with a pre-established reputation for success in the industry.
The company is also pursuing new-build acquisitions and premium property conversions in prime locations in BC, with the long-term goal of expanding into Asia and beyond. Element recently announced that it has established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Hong Kong with the intent of expanding its retirement community services business to China.
“We believe that China represents a unique opportunity for our team to leverage its proven track record in Canada to become a leader in the world’s largest growth market for our sector,” said Michael Diao, CEO of Element. “We have strong relationships in China and intend to limit our risk and exposure in China by working with local partners.”
Element is currently engaged with prospective business partners to discuss the possibility of establishing a China-based subsidiary under its newly-formed Hong Kong subsidiary. Both entities have been formed to explore opportunities in the Chinese market, which has entered a “rapidly aging population” growth stage.