Seniors Housing Upturn Draws Big Investors – Business in Vancouver
Vacancy rates tighten as aging population swells
Jan. 13, 2016, 12:59 p.m.
By Frank O’Brien
Candy Ho, director and vice-president of Element Lifestyle Retirement Residences: “intergenerational” communities could be the future of seniors housing | Photo: Richard Lam
Pension funds and well-heeled private investors are coming back into the B.C. retirement housing sector as vacancy rates fall to single-digits.
The new wave of developers is clearly concentrating on luxury-level retirement homes where rents can easily surpass $5,000 per month.
Last month, BayBridge Seniors Housing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, closed its $578 million purchase of Vancouver-based Amica Mature Lifestyles Inc. Amica had owned 25 properties, including high-end retirement residences in Vancouver.
Meanwhile Element Lifestyle Retirement Residences of Vancouver is launching two high-end projects. This includes the $90 million Opal in Vancouver’s Cambie Village neighbourhood. Opal will include [55 rental apartments and 45 luxury condominiums]*, including a 2,400-square-foot penthouse, expected to list at more than $2 million. *[Article error correction: 56 rental suites, 43 condominiums, and 30 Licenced Care Suites (one double occupancy suite, thus 31 beds delivering Memory and Complex Care.]
But Candy Ho, director and vice-president of Element said the future of retirement residences could be in projects such as Element’s proposed Oasis development, which has won an international design award.
Now in the planning and zoning stage, the $200-300 million Oasis, set on 17 acres next to the Langley Events Centre, is a new concept in retirement homes, Ho said, because it aims to become an “intergenerational community.”
“A core concept is for seniors to receive appropriate hospitality and professional support and care services, while related adults, children and grandchildren live in walking proximity within the same community,” Ho said. The community is in a natural oasis setting, with salmon-spawning Latimer Creek running through, gardens internally supplying community-grown herbs and vegetables, and other outdoor and indoor recreational and social amenities connecting to a European-style retail high street that would include a grocery store. Dedicated intergenerational play spaces, childcare and educational facilities are proposed in order to facilitate and encourage multiple generations of families to live with convenient, meaningful interaction.
The vision calls for seniors to live in residences offering Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Licenced Care, while their adult children would purchase homes sized appropriately to enable them to stay as their young family grows. Both seniors and their children or grandchildren would have access all of the Oasis community’s amenities, Ho explained.