Senior Developments Gain Popularity

April 15, 2015
Brunswick Forest

As people age, their needs often increase just when their ability to get around decreases. Or, they simply don’t want to do as much driving as they prepare to enjoy their golden years.

The answer for many retirees and seniors is to seek out communities that offer a “campus approach,” where many of their needs can be met within their neighborhood.

“The idea is to bring the services to the residents instead of them having to go to the services,” said Robert Duffy, who has worked on a number of senior-care retirement communities, including several in the local region. “We want to make these communities the total package.”

The popularity of “all-in-one” developments has grown, both among developers and residents in recent years as baby boomers prepare to retire. The Cape Fear region is no exception.

Take Brunswick Forest, the sprawling 4,500 acre mixed-use community across the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge from Wilmington. From recreating to shopping, residents can do all of this and more in the Leland community without having to brave U.S. 17.

“Among the many reasons Brunswick Forest residents love their lifestyle is they don’t have to leave the community to play golf or tennis, stop by the grocery store, get in a workout, see a doctor, or get out on the water,” states the development’s website.

While Brunswick Forest might be one of the largest all-inclusive communities in the region, it is by no means the only one. St. James Plantation near Southport has been selling the coastal lifestyle with easy access to amenities for years, Landfall in Wilmington even longer.

Developments catering to seniors also are looking to locate in areas where residents can take advantage of existing amenities and services without having to get behind the wheel. The 120-unit Cambridge Village senior apartment complex on Eastwood Road, for example, will be connected directly to Mayfaire, allowing its residents to walk to the sprawling shopping and entertainment complex.

One of the newest developments in the region is The Charles, a continuing-care retirement community planned for 2,117 acres just up N.C. 211 from St. James.

The center of the development will be a 46.5-acre health campus that will include medical providers and services. Also planned is 500,000 square feet of commercial and office space on 35 acres that will include shopping and dining options.

Duffy, who is a partner in the development, said the community will offer a range of residential options and services, from completely independent living to accommodations that cater to seniors with special needs or medical conditions.

He said the idea is to allow people to remain in the community, stay with their friends and maintain their quality of life – even if their health care needs change.

And while many residents might have cars, there will be shuttles to get people around to amenities both in and outside the neighborhood and an extensive network of path and trails for those who want to take a slower approach to getting around.
“Once you move, you’ll never have to move again,” Duffy said. “You can age in place.”