The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled new senior housing projects nationwide and across Florida, but amid rising vaccination rates and the nationwide health crisis, developers are now working on new offerings around the Gulf Coast.
In Sarasota, a company from the Chicago area is planning to build a complex with around 155 units on land that was once intended for the headquarters of residential real estate company Michael Saunders & Co. LaVerne, as the Integrated Development II project will be called, will be the first senior housing project in the city center.
And in Naples, a New York company has acquired the Goodlette Arms Apartments and is using tax credits and other alternative financing measures to convert them into affordable senior housing.
“We’re interested in creating a more urban product in many areas because we realized that active seniors today want to be close to retail, restaurants, and other activities,” said Matt Phillips, President and CEO of Integrated Development II. a Chicago company that he founded last year for Hyatt Hotels Corp. after more than 20 years of developing senior housing projects. and Senior Lifestyle Corp. established across the country.
“Downtown Sarasota is a great website for what our customers like.”
Integrated Development II’s seven-story project – named after his mother-in-law, a Longboat Key resident – is being developed at 307 S. Orange Ave.
The roughly $ 75 million project is slated to include 104 assisted living units, 31 independent units, and 20 nursing homes, all of which will be rented out.
The property, which was once the technology center of residential real estate broker Michael Saunders & Co. and is owned by Saunders, was considered the company’s future headquarters more than a decade ago.
In the years thereafter, however, Saunders has consolidated operations on the ground floor of the Ellis building on Main Street in downtown and other existing offices.
Meanwhile, in Naples, Fairstead is investing more than $ 25 million in modernizing the Goodlette Arms Apartments after purchasing the four-story complex from Full Circle Communities for $ 59.5 million earlier this year.
The company plans to renovate the 250-unit facility with renovated kitchens, bathrooms, floors, lighting, and heating and air conditioning systems.
The 47-year-old project is also expected to receive a number of new amenities, including a renovated community center, fitness facility, beauty salon, computer lab, and on-site laundry facilities.
Fairstead also intends to add a community garden, outdoor exercise equipment and lighted walking path to the 950 Goodlette Road North complex.
“It’s easy to build affordable housing on farmland, but in these cases there is usually no access to the great things a community has to offer, such as public transportation, health care, and other infrastructure and entertainment,” said Will Blodgett, founding partner of Fairstead .
“Goodlette Arms will have a lot of great amenities when we’re done, but the biggest amenity will be the Naples community itself,” he adds. “Where better to age than in Naples, one of the most beautiful communities in the country?”
As part of the redevelopment, Fairstead has pledged to keep Goodlette Arms “affordable” for the next four decades – residents will not pay more than 30% of their income for rent under an existing Section 8 federal program.
PHOTO WITH PROMOTION – New York-based Fairstead is renovating the 250-unit Goodlette Arms Apartments with a $ 25 million investment in Naples and pledging to maintain its senior living status through 2062
To keep that promise, Fairstead received funding from Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, the Collier County Housing Finance Authority, and Regions Bank.
Regions Bank is providing the company with 4% low-income tax credits to finance the renovation, Blodgett says.
Fairstead also intends to launch energy saving programs in Naples to reduce the facility’s CO2 emissions by at least 30% by the end of 2025.
Back in Sarasota, Phillips is refining LaVerne’s market-based rental prices while Hoyt Architects finalizes the designs for the project, which will include 135 supervised living units with 20 memorial care residences.
Integrated Development II hopes to complete LaVerne sometime in late 2024. Phillips declines to say what he will pay for Saunders’ 1.8 acre site, but MSC sales representative Lee DeLieto Sr. had marketed the land for $ 10.7 million earlier this year.
Phillips says the company will apply the lessons he and his colleagues learned in developing the Sheridan at Lakewood Ranch for Senior Lifestyle, Hyatt’s Classic Residence, and in projects like 850 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.
Integrated Development II converted the historic Lake Shore Athletic Club into 198 luxury serviced apartments. The completed project was later sold to a subsidiary of JP Morgan & Co. for $ 140 million.
While at Senior Lifestyle, Phillips and his team – many of whom are now working at Integrated Development II – completed 20 projects between 2013 and 2019, according to the company’s website.
“While Sarasota doesn’t have dedicated senior homes in downtown yet, it is common in places like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and elsewhere,” says Phillips. “So we’re not a pioneer here from an industry perspective.
“And the fact that we would be first speaks for the opportunity,” he adds. “We assume that demand in this area will increase with beautiful Laurel Park nearby.”
Blodgett plans to complete the Fairsteads Goodlette Arms redevelopment in March next year.
In line with many senior housing communities, Fairstead will also offer on-site meals, transportation to doctor’s and other appointments, as well as supermarkets, and educational and wellness programs.
Like Integrated Development II, Fairstead brings a wealth of experience to its project in Naples. Since its inception in 2014, Fairstead has acquired or maintained approximately $ 4 billion worth of senior housing nationwide. Today, the company’s portfolio includes nearly 15,000 units in 18 states, according to its website.
In Florida, the company has acquired eight separate senior housing projects in the past 18 months, including the June 2020 deal for Gould House with 101 units in Boca Raton and the acquisition of Federation Davie Apartments in October 2020 in Davie.
“We love South Florida, there is a lot going on, and we’re glad to be part of the senior community there,” says Blodgett. “We hope that we can increase the impact we are having there in the future.”