In the past few years we have seen a steady increase of “Main Street” concepts for assisted living and continuing care retirement communities. They can range from a portion of the community that functions as a salon, restaurant, and/or fitness center, to the full blown Vegas-style “New York, New York” street scene. My last senior living project was featured on CNN due to the incorporation of manhole covers that had timed steam escaping and fake snow falling during the holidays.
This community hosted a pub, full church, two-story theater, fitness center, salon, grill, and pet shop. The costs of these spaces, if done well, can range upwards of $350 per square foot. Of the Main Street concepts that we have been involved with, they tend to be more successful when they are partnered with a great activities program. When activities and interiors merge, results can be hugely popular with residents, and it’s common for there to be waiting lists to for them take part in an activity.
But are these concepts sustainable? As Baby Boomers start to enter into assisted living and independent living, I’m left pondering if they will be as enamored with Main Streets as the World War II generation. What do you think?