A new senior class

ASU to develop continuing-care 'life plan' facility — integrating education, culture, health care and intergenerational child-care programs


Arizona State University, in collaboration with the ASU Foundation and Pacific Retirement Services, will develop a university-based life plan community near the corner of University Drive and Mill Avenue on ASU’s campus and within steps of downtown Tempe’s restaurants and cultural venues.

The facility will engage older alumni and retired faculty, staff and friends by providing lifelong learning, a continuum of health-care services for aging adults and an environment rich in performing arts, social, athletic and research activities. Plans for extensive amenities include on-site physicians, fitness, dining, estate planning, on-campus educational and mentoring opportunities, and concierge services, as well as intergenerational child-care programming that has been shown to improve academic performance in children and emotional and physical health in aging adults.

An artist rendering of the retirement community.

An artist rendering of the conceptual design for the university-based housing project at ASU.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to provide intellectual stimulation for senior members of the ASU family — and in an altogether new way,” said Rick Shangraw, CEO of the ASU Foundation. “The ASU community will certainly benefit from their presence, as we hope they will from their return to the campus of the nation’s most innovative university.”

An influx of 77 million Baby Boomers approaching retirement age is driving demand for housing that delivers conveniences and aging-in-place accommodations at the intersection of hospitality, health care and real estate.

Currently, there are about 100 similar university-based communities in the United States, including at Penn State University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin and Dartmouth College. About half of ASU’s 60,000 graduates age 65 or older live in Arizona — a state that ranks as one of the most popular destinations for retirees — and that figure that is expected to double in 10 years.

The future site of the retirement community

The approximate location at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive where the senior community will be located. Construction is expected to begin in 2018. Photo by Ben Moffat/ASU Now

To meet this growing need and to provide innovative and exciting options for senior members of its community, ASU is exploring potential partnerships between the forthcoming living facility and the Mayo Clinic, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and ASU’s nursing, health innovation, nutrition, arts and design and teaching programs.

With support from the City of Tempe, the ASU Foundation selected the experienced not-for-profit Pacific Retirement Services to co-develop and operate the project, which is expected to feature 20 stories consisting of 291 independent, assisted, memory-care and skilled-nursing units inspired by the urban Mirabella communities in Portland and Seattle. The site will be LEED-certified and will utilize solar power.

ASU, the ASU Foundation and Pacific Retirement Services are conducting a marketing and feasibility study about the facility, which is subject to ground lease approval from the Arizona Board of Regents. Assuming it proves viable, construction is expected to begin in 2018, with occupancy predicted in spring 2020. The development team includes Ankrom Moisan Architects and McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. PRS has secured a committed lender for the project, Cain Brothers, a pre-eminent investment bank focused exclusively on health care.

Interested future residents should contact 1-844-542-6061. More information is available here.

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