Senior Living Development is breaking ground on the first of what its chief executive envisions as a brand of senior living communities that combines high-end amenities and services with affordability for residents.
Construction on a five-story senior living companion care apartment community in Bristol, Connecticut is underway that is expected to open in Spring 2023 and welcome 117 residents with a key focus on affordability for middle market residents. The community is the first entry in the developer’s KindCare Assisted Living brand, and also its flagship for the model.
“There’s a lot of what we’ll call luxury assisted living with a higher-end price tag,” said KindCare Assisted Living Chief Operating Officer Seth Dudley. “What we want to be able to do is to provide high quality options; those same amenities and types of services at a lower price point.”
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A total of 89 residents will be in assisted living care while 28 residents will be in the memory care portion of the development. Units will be 600 square-feet and include private bedrooms with a shared living room, kitchenette and bathroom. A standalone restaurant and dining area will be included in the project, along with typical amenities for senior living, including a fitness center, library, classrooms and media areas, project rooms and outdoor spaces.
KindCare executives said the project also is planned to include infection control safeguards, including HVAC filtration and integrating options for telehealth access and remote visiting capabilities for residents.
“We’re pretty excited about bringing all those pieces together and just having this part of our spectrum,” Dudley said.
The KindCare brand was founded around the idea of meeting middle market price points for seniors, with the Bristol project serving as the company’s flagship development with more properties in the Northeast in the years ahead, according to CEO Mark De Pecol.
In the last 10 years, De Pecol said the company received approvals for over 1,000 luxury senior living units in Connecticut that were sold to “national brands,” and realized the middle class was being left out of many senior living plans. De Pecol previously likened the vision of affordable senior living to the “Hampton Inn of assisted living,” but said the analogy didn’t quite fit anymore since the senior living plan offered robust services and amenities rather than simply lodging.
“It drove us to try and come up with an assisted living plan that was affordable,” De Pecol said. “This is to reach that middle market much in the same way that a Hampton Inn does.”
The company plans to roll out its middle-market senior living mode elsewhere in the future, and De Pecol envisions doing “dozens of these all over—starting in New England.”
“We have several other properties under contract so we are definitely rolling it out,” De Pecol said. “We’re looking at dozens of these communities over the next several years.”
The focus on affordability will allow KindCare to access portions of the senior housing market and communities across the country that luxury senior living operators have not reached, he added.
Dudley said interest in the Bristol project was high, citing lease ups getting underway.
Like all operators, staffing shortages have challenged the company but Dudley said KindCare conducted a wage study to ensure wages for staff were at “the top end of the market,” noting that wages were at the top or exceeded industry standards as a way to retain staff.
“It’s something that you just have to keep top of mind and be continually focused on,” Dudley said.
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