It’s a winning combination: Developers are increasingly creating mixed-use campuses that include both healthcare facilities and multifamily housing in the same development.
The goal? To provide the residents of these communities with easy access to medical offices, urgent care
facilities and freestanding medical clinics. A growing number of developers today are partnering with healthcare systems to create these developments.
And this is a trend that real estate experts say will only grow: The nation continues to get older. People want easy access to healthcare, and they don’t want to travel to huge hospital facilities to get it. By creating developments that include both healthcare and residential options, developers and healthcare systems can better cater to the changing desires of patients.
A good example of this trend is taking place now in Findlay, Ohio, where developer Pennrose is developing Eastern Woods Senior with Blanchard Valley Health System. Located on the health system’s Eastern Woods master-planned development, Eastern Woods Senior will create affordable homes for residents 55 and older. Once complete, it will feature 50 units of senior affordable housing built adjacent to a continuing care retirement community owned by Blanchard Valley Health System.
And that is just one example. Healthcare systems both in suburban and urban locations are looking to add multifamily housing to their campuses to continue their mission of providing the best care to their clients.
“This is a growing trend that we have been seeing and participating in for some time,” said Lasserre Bradley, regional vice president for the Midwest with the Cincinnati office of Pennrose. “A lot of hospital facilities are in cities and the urban core. They are in neighborhoods that need some type of economic development, some revitalization work. They are now exploring different ways to impact that real estate around them.”
Medical providers also know that the housing their patients return to after receiving treatments plays an
important role in their recovery, Bradley said. At Eastern Woods Senior, for instance, older patients will be able to return to homes designed specifically for residents 55 and older. Their living spaces, then, will result in a lower risk of falls or injuries because of the way the units are designed.
The key to making these developments work is for developers and healthcare providers to collaborate on them. Pennrose, for instance, is working closely with Blanchard Valley Health System to develop housing designed to keep residents healthy.
“Healthcare providers are increasingly looking holistically at the patients they serve,” Bradley said. “Housing is a component of that. Some of the nonprofits are investing in nursing care and assisted living. We have started looking at what we can do as real estate developers. We are looking for that overlap where our mission and the mission of healthcare providers meet. We are working together to impact people to a greater degree than either of us could do on our own.”
Bradley said that these collaborations between medical providers and developers take different shape depending on the real estate available. Often, the collaborations might result in health clinics that are developed and opened in the middle of residential communities.
Other projects are master-planned developments that call for both housing and medical facilties on the same campus. That is what is happening at Eastern Woods Senior. Blanchard Valley Health System developed a master planned community named Eastern Woods. The plan calls for medical office, market-rate apartments, single-family homes and a large retirement community. The health system planned these facilities for 50 acres of undeveloped land that it owns.
Bradley said that the housing component serves not just patients of the medical facilities but the workers employed by these healthcare providers.
“They are in a market that has very little housing available,” Bradley said. “They have about 400 employees on site at their healthcare campus. They are constantly looking for ways to recruit people for that market. Where are these people going to live? This project gave Blanchard a unique opportunity to create workforce housing at that campus.”
Pennrose began construction of Eastern Woods Senior, the 50 units of affordable seniors housing, in August. This is the first phase of what Pennrose hopes will be multiple phases of residential construction that it takes on at the site.
Bradley said that the Eastern Woods development should not be seen as an outlier. He expects to see similar developments rise across the country.
“Seniors often want to remain in the communities in which they built their whole lives,” Bradley said. “All the services they use are there. Their families and friends are there. Their churches are there. They don’t want to relocate, even when they are aging. They want to know how they can set themselves up to age in place successfully. Developments like these are a great way to accomplish that.
“With Eastern Woods Senior, we are trying to create an opportunity where folks can access housing that is affordable to them without them having to leave the communities in which they have spent so many years,” Bradley said.
The federal low-income housing tax credits for Eastern Woods Senior were facilitated through a proprietary fund with Aetna, a CVS Health company.
“Providing affordable housing options to seniors, who are often facing chronic health conditions, can truly have a significant impact on their overall health and well-being,” said Michael Avotins, Ohio/Kentucky market president at Aetna. “We are committed to helping people that need it the most and believe that the Eastern Woods Senior Apartments will help seniors in Findlay who are among the most vulnerable members of the community.”
Healthcare systems located in denser urban areas are turning to other models to combine housing and medical facilities, Bradley said. This might mean medical offices on the ground floor of a multifamily housing development.
“The demand is there,” Bradley said. “Healthcare providers are looking at the long-term health of their patients.”
The units that Pennrose is building at Eastern Woods Senior will include onsite laundry facilities, plenty of storage space for residents, a fitness center and community gathering spaces. It will also include an outdoor patio area. Residents here will be able to take advantage of the walkable campus that is part of the master-planned Eastern Woods development.