Case Studies
1 Nov
University-Based Retirement Communities
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What is A University-Based Retirement Community?

Combining senior living and universities are not necessarily a new trend, but are becoming more common as providers look to provide an increasingly energetic community to a more active set of consumers. University-based retirement communities (“UBRCs”) not only deliver a variety of additional amenities and services to residents, but also allow the university and the provider to take advantage of certain financial and tax benefits.

Typically, UBRCs form in one of three ways:

  • A university builds and operates its own UBRC;
  • A university provides or sells its land to a third-party provider on preferred terms to build and/or operate the UBRC; or
  • A university will partner with an existing retirement community within close proximity to the university’s campus.

Benefits to the Resident

UBRCs offer a variety of different amenities and services to residents than you might see at your typical senior living community. Because of the focus on lifelong learning, UBRCs are attractive for active, curious seniors looking to get the most out of their retirement. In many cases, residents have access to:

  • Free classes, guest lectures, and educational seminars
  • University recreational facilities
  • Sporting event tickets at reduced or student prices
  • Fine art events and social activities
  • Health and medical resources
  • Dining services
  • Transportation services

Benefits to the University

UBRCs offer a variety of benefits to both the university and its students. Because of the location, amenities, and affiliation with the university, the senior living community will most likely attract alumni, strengthening their affinity toward the university and driving an increase in donations. Additionally, due to the year-round nature of the senior residents, the university will see an increase in underutilized resources outside of normal semester months.

Universities affiliated with a senior living community can also provide students with unique volunteer, job, and research opportunities . Not only does intergenerational learning encourage greater social cohesion, students who major in fields such as hospitality and medicine can put their new skills to practice in real-world situations in the senior living community.

University-Based Retirement Community Examples

Over the years, Greystone has worked on a number of UBRCs around the country. Here, we briefly highlight those examples as well as some of their unique features.

Legacy Pointe at UCF | Oviedo, FL
UNIT MIX   IL: 140   Cottages: 32    AL: 48   MS: 32   SNF: 48

Legacy Pointe boasts many of the amenities listed above, but one of their unique features is that all of the colleges at the University of Central Florida have a seat on the community’s board of directors and has committed tools and resources that will help enhance the value of the community. Most notably, the Rosen College of Hospitality Management assisted in the design of the community’s hospitality and dining services as well as resident programming. Legacy Point was the catalyst for the creation of a specific undergraduate degree path in senior living management at Rosen College, where students can gain real-world experience through working at Legacy Pointe.

Rockwood at Whitworth | Spokane, WA
UNIT MIX   IL: 117 AL: 48 MS: 24

In 2016, Whitworth University reached out to Rockwood Retirement Communities hoping to sell a parcel of their land to the provider for use as a senior living campus. While Rockwood ultimately decided against purchasing university land, they kept Whitworth officials in the loop when their efforts shifted to redeveloping their existing Hawthorne campus, which is just 0.5 miles from the university. The result was the Partnership for Intergenerational Learning, which allows residents to take advantage of a variety of university resources as if they were students. Rockwood honored this partnership by renaming the campus “Rockwood at Whitworth”.

Woodlands at Furman | Greenville,SC
UNIT MIX   IL: 132 Cottages: 28 AL: 32 MS: 16 SNF: 30

What started in 1993 as Furman University Learning in Retirement became Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in 2008. The OLLI provides residents of Woodlands at Furman with a wide array of noncredit courses and activities geared specifically toward adults ages 50+ who are interested in learning for the joy of learning. Residents also have access to the Furman University Golf Club, and can participate in the Adopt-a-Grandparent/Adopt-a-Grandchild program which pairs residents with a Furman student. This program provides an opportunity to mentor, learn, and stay connected to the younger generation.

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