Development Beat: Retiring in Style

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sorry, don’t let the title fool you: I won’t be retiring from the Development Beat anytime soon.

What the title actually refers to is a newly filed site review plan for a retirement community that was, oddly enough, previously filed as a new subdivision plan.

Here’s what we had to say about it back it was a subdivision. Not much has changed since that time:

After the property at 5501 Departure was rezoned to RX in October to allow for Congregate Care. The only mention of the facility’s size is a note that there will be 9,583 square feet of impervious surface added to the property. As this figure likely includes the parking area along with the building itself, it seems a bit small, but perhaps it will be built up, not out.

Site plans for the retirement center

City of Raleigh

Site plans for the retirement center

While the property has been owned since 2000 by the Bell Partnership, it appears that ONE|ƎIGHTY, a hospitality developer which also specializes in senior housing, will be developing the new facility.

The site plans were drawn up local firm Development Engineering

ONE|ƎIGHTY does four different styles of retirement communities, which we’ll get into in a minute. First, let’s read this brief descriptor of what sets ONE|ƎIGHTY senior living communities apart from the rest.

You’ll notice the difference at our communities the first time you see folks having fun. Starting with the fact that folks are actually having fun. Because, while other companies were making senior living gracious, comfortable, and boring. We were giving it a Twist. We were making it a blast.

Yeah, gracious, comfortable … sounds terrible. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of living someplace where the people running the show are trying to “make it a blast” 24/7 sounds like a nightmare.

Here’s the four different flavors of ONE|ƎIGHTY communities.

  1. Leisure Care: The bare-bones basics. Although this is the lowest-tier community, it still boasts that they TreeoPhotos“go way beyond the typical ideas of independent living and assisted living. And when we say “way beyond” it is, well, kind of an understatement.” And that’s not all; they promise to “soup [the experience] up like a teenager with a ’57 Chev” Uh. OK. Let’s move on to the next one.
  2. Leisure Care Premiere: Obviously an upgrade on the (not-so, if you believe the marketing) standard Leisure Care facility. Here’s the main difference: “our popular enhanced programs are included — PrimeFit Complete, SM BrainFit, SM whole-person wellness, and true restaurant dining.” BrainFit. Sweet. That’s a better sell than the weird ’57 Chevy line, for sure.
  3. Signature 180: Custom-tailored senior living communities. Not surprisingly, ONE|ƎIGHTY is quite braggadocios when it comes to these developments: “If these communities were any more unique, they’d have to be on Mars.” I don’t want to make this too long, but I’d be remiss if I left out the opening description: “The Signature 180 brand is for communities that are so unique they require their own branding, their own marketing, their own … everything. Yes indeed, these projects are innovative with a capital “I”. And the developers behind them are amazingly innovative, too. (With a capital “A” and a capital “I”.)” Gag. With a capital “G.” Apparently they do things like turn old breweries into senior living spaces. Hipster retirement communities, basically.
  4. Treeo: I’ll be honest, I had kind of a hard time figuring out what the deal with these ones was. The marketing language is surprisingly subdued (well, by ONE|ƎIGHTY standards at least). Here’s their pitch: We put on our Twisted Thinking Caps, combed through the data and discovered [some retirees] wanted three things: A good value, A place that looks and feels hip, fresh and fun, and to engage with their community and town.  Well to be honest, that doesn’t tell me much. There’s some talk of special technology, and a mention of the “connectivity” available, which sounds pretty good. But apparently it’s an independent living community, rather than an assisted living facility. Although according to some research (reading online reviews of one of the locations) that I did, only two meals per day are included with the rent. Lunch is extra. Maybe it’s part of a whole-person wellness program.

Well that took longer than I intended. But as I mentioned, there’s not much on the site plans other than the fact that the empty, wooded lot will eventually be turned into a Congregate Care facility run by the top minds behind ONE|ƎIGHTY.

5501 Departure Drive today

Google Maps

5501 Departure Drive today

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