The independent living homes have square footages ranging from 1,474 to 1,760 but could stretch to 2,672 square feet with optional finished basements. Courtesy Holland Home
As a large wave of aging baby boomers is expected to hit retirement homes in the coming years, Holland Home is looking to make their transition into its system easier to handle.
With the adjacent Breton Ridge apartment building nearly full, the 168-acre campus had 60 acres of unused land sitting in Kentwood. Holland Home set out to fill the acreage with 119 homes in triplex, duplex and single setups known as Breton Homes North of Holland Home.
The homes are meant for independent living but allow an easy transition to in-home care within Holland Home, as well as transitioning to other buildings on campus, said Michael Loughman, Holland Home director of sales.
“This gets them under the Holland Home umbrella and facilitates aging in place,” Loughman said. “Access to quality care will be huge, as boomers put more strain on the health care system. Access to care will be a big deal.”
The first phase of 47 homes has started, with a model triplex built and a second triplex underway. Holland Home hosted an open house earlier this year, with 60 attendees, signifying interest in the homes, Loughman said.
Built to order, the homes come in three sizes and three price plans, Loughman said. He said through focus groups, occupational therapists and outside research, Holland Home has designed the houses to cater to the aging baby boomer generation.
Main floor plans range from 1,474 to 1,760 square feet, but with the optional finished basements stretch to 2,286 to 2,672 square feet.
“It’s a custom home build with maintenance-free living,” Loughman said. “Seniors view space as independence. The bigger the unit, they view it as more freedom.”
Each house comes with an iPad programmed for smart house amenities and are designed to be 95 percent energy efficient. The iPad can control the homes’ temperatures, turn on and off lights, as well as lock and unlock the front door. Other amenities, such as security cameras and surround sound, also can be installed.
Costs for the homes start in the low $300,000s, but Loughman said Holland Home pays for the construction and retains ownership. Tenants pay property taxes, ranging from $4,500-7,000, and a monthly $800 “service and amenity” fee.
The fee includes water and sewer, trash, cable, internet, snow removal, landscaping, building maintenance, a $100 food credit and access to the Breton Woods facilities. The facilities include a swimming pool, restaurants, salon, movie theater, library, fitness center and health center.
LS Design designed the plans, and Erhardt Construction is performing the build outs, just as the firm has for many other Holland Home projects, Loughman said.
Holland Home needs the space to accommodate the largest group of aging seniors in history. With the apartments at Breton Ridge 99 percent occupied and a 15-bed assisted living facility built last year already full, the retirement community also has another new 15-bed assisted living facility under construction.
Loughman said he’s particularly fond of the property tax base the more than 100 homes could add to the city of Kentwood.
He said many retirees move twice, first into an apartment or condo, then into a retirement community. This does both without the stress of moving, he said, as the homes are designed to allow for aging in place and in a system that has in-home care services.
“This (makes) them part of the community, access to restaurants, fitness center, any classes or activities, the pool, the doctors’ offices on campus,” Loughman. “They’re still part of that while living in a housing community. These homes are the easiest way to transition in, and I’ve never heard someone say they transitioned too soon.”
With all maintenance inside and out of the house taken care of, Loughman said seniors are given more freedom to enrich their lives and come alive.
“Working with seniors, they will come back and say, ‘Michael, I didn’t realize I worried about my house until I didn’t have to worry about it.’” Loughman said.