The path of most resistance

It would be tough to argue with the idea that the capital budgeting, iterative design, value engineering cycle of real estate is flawed. Maybe even broken. Certainly frustrating. I sympathize with building owners who simply build a budget and trust a good designer to keep to it. So often the preconstruction work of a contractor ends in the right place but only after painful cycles of design-price-cut-redesign.

What designers base their fee on designing everything twice? What owner enjoys seeing beautiful features only to have to cut them away for budgetary reasons? And worst of all, the project suffers in the end. Residents or staff or both do without, marketing suffers.

There is a better way - one based on total alignment with the end goals of the project and one that rewards, not hampers, the creative iterations of talented designers. Software designers have this right and we can learn from them. Read the Agile Manifesto sometime. It applies to what we do and makes better projects on the way.

All markets are opportunities

Without question there is sound discipline and diligence in the market study exercise that occurs at the beginning of most new senior living developments. The insight into competition and demographics begins to tell a story about that market and the people that might move into your community. But so often I hear developers say that penetration rates are really high or income levels are too low. Again, those are good metrics to know but think about this differently for a moment.

Most communities today are stabilized (profitable) with about 100 residents. Be it assisted living or memory care, independent living or skilled nursing, 100 people is pretty small in comparison to a metro area with hundreds of thousands of people. If we begin to envision those 100 people and how we can serve them and then craft a compelling story that explains those services, we can put begin to outline a concept that can be successful in any market.

To be sure that story may not match with available land prices or wage rates. But by definition, a market study proves that not all seniors are living in a managed community and something will appeal to those seniors. Our job is to help you build that appeal.