by Cynthia Lescalleet
For The Leader
The floor plans available at The Village of the Heights don’t have footprints –– they have names. “The White Oak” is a studio space, for example. “The Courtlandt” is has a one-bedroom layout.
By naming the options after landmarks and streets in the market area, the facility by Bridgewood Property Co. is sending a strong neighborly message to older residents here: When it’s time to move toward planning for long-term care in a more assisted lifestyle, it’ll be more possible to stay in the area they’ve called home for decades, said Lynn Wallace, Bridgewood’s marketing manager of new development.
Think of it an as extended version of “aging in place,” she said. Senior residents can maintain their friendships, ties to the community, healthcare connections and interests while “having the peace of mind that support is there.”
“Senior housing is driven by people wanting something in their neighborhood,” Wallace said.
Bridgewood Property, a privately held Houston-based company, has been tending that market, developing communities that deliver various levels of assisted living and memory care as well as independent living. If you are looking for a home health agency, then there are plenty that you could pick from. You just have to find the right one for you.
Its latest project, The Village of the Heights, broke ground earlier this spring on Studewood at Algregg. The two-acre site was formerly home to a Fiesta Mart. Construction of the estimated $10 million project will wrap up a year from now, Wallace said; however, state licensing inspections thereafter will determine occupancy, perhaps by September 2014.
A care-full exchange
Unlike its recently completed Village at Tanglewood, the 109-unit Heights project will not have any independent living housing, something early accounts about the project included.
Wallace said the market for the Heights area project appears to be more skewed to demand for some level of assisted living.
That mirrors another national trend for the senior care industry, she said, as people delay moving from their homes until they must.
Contributing factors cited by Senior Housing News include the economy preventing them from affording to move, better technology supporting wellness at home and accessible in-community care allowing them to age in place longer. The flip side is that they’re more in need of some assistance when they finally do make the move.
Plans for Village of the Heights’ first floor currently include a secured wing to accommodate 21 private rooms for memory care residents, small dining areas and space for activities separate from the assisted living residents.
The property’s main entrance, intended to feel like a hotel lobby instead of institutional space, also occupies the ground level, as does the main dining room, which shares the kitchen.
Level 2 has the amenities (a library, fitness room, beauty salon and multi-purpose room) “to keep them moving and grooving,” Wallace said, and some of the 88 assisted living units. The rest are on Levels 3 and 4.
Depending on the mix of residents and their initial needs, the top floor might offer less extensive (thus less expensive) assistance services, said Jim Gray, company principal. That decision will be Wallace’s as the project populates, he said. All units, however, will be licensed by the state to provide assisted living services.
Average units range in size from a 400-sq.-ft. studio to a 550-sq.-ft. one bedroom to a two-bedroom corner slot of 800 to 900 sq. ft.
Two-bedroom units go quickly, Wallace said, since people downsizing often think they need the extra space. What they need to realize is the entire community is their home, she said.
Monthly rental rates have not been determined, Wallace said. Among the amenities are three daily meals, outings, programming, Wi-Fi and transportation shuttles to shopping and medical appointments. There’s a wireless emergency monitoring system and a network of physicians who’ll make regular visits to the property.
Residents also pay a one time “community fee” of $3,000, good for the duration of a resident’s lifetime at the property, including any changes to the size of unit or level of care, Wallace said.
Hitting the Heights
Gray said Bridgewood builds in communities where long-term residents want to stay near the neighborhoods they’ve called home. At the same time, there are seniors who move to be near their adult children who have relocated.
“The best locations are those which fit both profiles, as is the case with the Heights, where there are many seniors as well as a large number of adult children relocating from other parts of Houston to be ‘closer-in,’ near work and the cultural benefits of Houston,” he said.
He describes the new Village as offering “an engaging life” amid beautiful surroundings, fine meals, continuous activities and attentive, loving staff who put the care in assisted living.
“The staff and residents often become best friends,” he said.
For more information on Village of the Heights, call 713-623-6767, or visit www.villageoftheheights.com.