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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Oct. 14, 201512:00 PM EST

Aging boomers spark two senior projects


Northeast Florida’s aging-baby-boomer-and-beyond population continues to spark investment in senior-living communities.

Two more are in design for Mandarin and southwest Jacksonville. Those would join at least 15 more that recently opened or are under development in the Jacksonville area.

Jacksonville-based Vestcor Communities will develop a $22 million community along San Jose Boulevard while Principal Senior Living Group of Alpharetta, Ga., plans to enter the Jacksonville market with the estimated $9.8 million Benton House at Oakleaf.

To the extent that Northeast Florida follows the trends of the state, it can expect an increase in older residents.

The state reports that between 2010 and 2030, Florida’s population age 60 and older will account for most of the state’s growth, representing almost 58 percent of the gain.

Residence 65 and older will increase to almost 6 million people by 2030, up from about 3.3 million in 2010, and account for more than half of the overall population growth in the state.

That retirement-and-over age group will comprise almost 25 percent of the population in 2030, up from 17 percent in 2010.

In Mandarin, Vestcor Communities wants to develop a 104-unit, three-story assisted living and memory care center at 12276 San Jose Blvd. The single-phase community will be developed on about 4.2 acres.

Construction on the 120,000- square-foot project should start next year and be completed in 2017.

Conceptual site plans filed with the city show two independent living wings and a memory-care/assisted living wing, along with outdoor recreation areas.

There would be 34 assisted-living beds, 24 memory-care beds and 46 senior apartments, Vestcor said.

Holly Hepler, marketing manager of The Vestcor Companies, said the company has not named the community yet.

She said the senior living community will cater to “today’s aging baby boomer.”

“Residents and their families will take comfort knowing that active seniors can enjoy such a quality, social environment that has the programming resources to allow them to age in place,” she said.

PQH Group is the architect.

Hepler said the community will offer one- and two-bedroom private apartments that include utilities, Internet service, housekeeping, laundry service, routine maintenance, gourmet dining by an executive chef, 24-hour access to a licensed nurse and health monitoring by a professional staff.

She said amenities will include a resort-style pool, courtyard areas, fitness and wellness center, a movie theater, multiple dining options, a beauty salon, and areas for social and educational programming.

There also will be levels of personal care for residents who need assistance with daily-living activities, and there will be more structured support for memory care residents.

It will be a market-rate development.

Vestcor also is developing 205 senior housing units in the Regency area and north of Downtown. Vestcor was considering another Regency area community, but that is on hold.

In southwest Jacksonville, plans show Benton House is designed as a 59-unit, 80-bed assisted living facility at 417 Oakleaf Plantation Parkway. The community is designed on 6 acres.

Plans filed with the city show the 42,032-square-foot first phase can be expanded with a 14-unit, 9,245-square-foot second phase.

Tim Hudgins, chief development officer of Principal Senior Living Group, said construction should start in December and be completed in about 10 months on the first phase.

Tri-South Contractors Inc. is the contractor, according to a permit application. Hudgins said the construction cost on the first phase is $5.7 million.

He said the second phase could be built 12 to 18 months after the first phase opens, depending on the market.

Hudgins said Principal Senior Living chose the southwest area of town because it believes that area is underserved, with few assisted living beds west of Interstate 295.

“We believe the west side of town has solid demographics with fewer folks serving the senior population,” he said.

Principal Senior Living’s executives believe Jacksonville’s “growing and well-diversified economy” will help the project be successful, Hudgins said. He anticipates looking for more sites in Northeast Florida after the first project.

“The residents of Jacksonville are very familiar with and comfortable with assisted living, so we will not have to educate folks as to what the product is,” he said.

Benton House at Oakleaf describes itself as a senior living and memory-care community. Hudgins said Benton House is the brand name of assisted living facilities developed, owned or managed by Principal Senior Living Group.

The group was founded in 1997 and has developed more than 30 facilities in the Southeast and in the Kansas City area, he said. It currently manages 21.

The webpage for the Jacksonville facility says whether residents choose assisted living/personal care or memory care, there is a regular calendar of events.

Events include fitness options; seminars and lectures; spiritual services; concerts and performing arts; volunteer programs serving charities; and major special events that include family and friends. There are full-time and a weekend social directors.

The memory care neighborhood offers a daily events calendar, and is keypad-protected.

Hudgins said Principal Senior Living intentionally builds smaller, single-story communities so that its staff can better know the residents and their families.

Bunulu to open Oct. 23.

Bunulu, the new concept by Bradenton-based lifestyle retailer Bealls Inc., will open Oct 23 at St. Johns Town Center. It’s at the former Fossil site.

To celebrate, Bunulu scheduled two days of grand-opening ceremonies, starting at 9 a.m. Oct. 23 with Yoga Pop-Up hosted by Mindful Motion.

The ribbon-cutting presentation is at 10 a.m., when the store opens.

The first 50 customers at the opening receive a free Bunulu tote and T-shirt. There will be live entertainment at 5 p.m.

Customers can register to win a prize package every hour from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. They must be present to win when names are drawn.

On Oct. 24, there will be Yoga Pop-Up at 9 a.m.

The first 50 customers at the 10 a.m. store opening that day will win a free Bunulu Tervis tumbler.

Bunulu’s tagline is “Land. Water. Style.”

It is designed to carry clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women who want to dress for an active and casual coastal lifestyle.

It will feature well-known brands such as Patagonia, Columbia and The North Face as well as other brands.

Its address is 4751 River City Drive, Suite 143B.

[email protected]


(904) 356-2466

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