Gonzalez: u201cAlternative new models are integrating age-qualified communities into traditional master plans.u201d

IRVINE, CA-There is no “one size fits all” prescription for senior housing today, argues Manny Gonzalez, principal with architecture and planning firm KTGY Group Inc. There are definite trends, but there is no one model that works for all senior communities or all seniors, he says.

“The traditional Del Webb model still proves to be successful as the popular retirement community the Villages in Florida has shown by being the nation’s top-selling community of any type over the last several years,” says Gonzalez. “But there are alternative new models like Gavilan in Rancho Mission Viejo in southern Orange County, CA, that re proving to be equally successful by integrating ‘age-qualified’ communities into traditional master plans.”

He adds that the key to Gavilan’s success is “not only allowing all residents, young and old, the use of community amenities like parks, trails, gardens and the community center, but also creating a separate country club-like community center complete with its own pool and fitness center exclusively for seniors.”

According to Reach Advisors, 75% of Baby Boomers are keeping an active lifestyle to stay healthy, and 40% say they are actually in better shape than they were in their 20s, reports Gonzalez. “Fitness centers today need to rival the Equinox and 24 Hour Fitness facilities and incorporate state-of-the-art features like ‘Fitness on Demand.’ They also need to be able to adapt to changing programs as demands shift. Pilates was nowhere near as popular 10 years ago as it is today, but if a 10-year-old fitness center hasn’t incorporated a dedicated Pilates space, it will be sending a message of being dated to any prospective resident.”

A variety of community amenities help keep senior housing attractive and fresh for residents. As GlobeSt.com reported last week, Sendero, the first village on the new 14,000-home Rancho Mission Viejo community, will be receiving several new non-residential amenities within the next year. Slated for a Fall 2014 opening are Sendero Field, a 15-acre community park, and vegetable and fruit gardens via Sendero Farm. Also planned are a 10-acre Ranch Marketplace retail plaza and a fire station.

Check back for more from Manny Gonzalez on design changes in the next generation of adult homes.