When it comes to senior living, the spectrum is vast. From type of building to type of care offered there are hundreds of buildings to choose from, but there are significant gaps in the market, like the lack of market-rate housing and continuum care.
Seniors looking for a new home are used to two options: (1) rent restricted, low-income housing or (2) high-end, luxury housing a with large buy-in fee—sometimes $100,000 just to reserve a room in the building. Options are whittled down even further depending on the type of care needed, whether it be assisted living, memory care, etc.
While the “either or” works for some, it doesn’t for others, and Ryan Companies is just one company working to strike a balance through its new projects like Clarendale Six Corners in Portage Park, a 10-story, 258-unit community offering market-rate housing with continuum care.
Ryan Companies Director of Real Estate Development and Leading Developer of Clarendale, Brandon Raymond, said the company first noticed the pattern years ago. One of the most heavily considered factors when exploring housing is location within one’s current neighborhood, and because nothing (aside from one affordable housing option) existed within a five-mile radius of Portage Park, Ryan Companies seized the opportunity and has been planning since.
“Fifty years ago, Six Corners was the most trafficked intersection in Chicago, but it’s seen massive vacancies over the past decade,” Raymond said. “We wanted to bring it back to life using [Clarendale] as a catalyst for its revitalization.”
And they are. Ryan Companies was the first to break ground and many other businesses have followed suit. Adjacent projects under construction include a mixed-use multifamily/retail building, a new grocery store and a medical office, as well as a recently proposed project concerning the former Peoples Gas just across from Kilpatrick.
The company has also helped to reestablish neighborhood walkability with updated bike lanes, wider sidewalks and an elevated streetscape with a pedestrian plaza connecting Milwaukee Avenue to Irving Park Road.
Simply, it’s much more than a singular building—it’s the “new wave” of senior living. Unlike what’s pictured on TV, the sector has evolved significantly in the last few decades, with amenities that exceed even the top-of-the-line multifamily buildings while also catering to residents’ age-specific needs.
What Seniors Want
So, what kinds of building amenities do seniors and their families prioritize when looking for a community? First and foremost, Raymond emphasized further their need to age in the same neighborhood.
“Many people lay down roots and live in the same area for much of their life,” he said, “and it’s natural to want to remain socially connected to the shops they visit or the friends they maintain. We’ve found that seniors look for a community in the same neighborhood or just beyond.”
Inside, the building offers bistro-style eatery, cocktail bar and billiards lounge that aid socialization, as well as a massage room, weekly housekeeping, a full-service salon and a specialized fitness/wellness center with specialized nurse care.
The best part? The building was designed with residents in mind and can be reprogrammed in accordance with evolving needs. Raymond said the company’s goal is to maintain flexibility to be molded by the population. The buildings are anything but stale and allow for residents to slip out of the “senior housing” mindset while still taking comfort in the fact that their needs will be met.
While Clarendale Six Corners is for seniors, the building was designed in partnership with to support the surrounding community.
For example, Ryan Companies has commissioned local artists to paint multiple murals within the building, which not only supports the artists, but in doing so, celebrates the neighborhood and its history through their work.
The building will also provide over 200 jobs once fully stabilized—not counting those needed to operate 18,000 square feet of surrounding ground-floor retail—even extending opportunity to students.
“The project is an opportunity to introduce nearby students to the business because there are many professions within the sector,” Raymond said. “We’re also establishing a one-time $100,000 scholarship for Schurz High School—another way to support the community and reflect our eagerness to be a part of it.”
Clarendale Six Corners is expected to deliver in Spring 2023 and related projects the following year.