Santa Ana-based developer Nexus Cos. is betting that a luxury retirement community going up near Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach will draw heavy interest from wealthy residents expecting amenities that go well beyond weekly bingo games and Matlock reruns.
Nexus last week broke ground on Vivante on the Coast, a 185-unit retirement community that’s going up on Monrovia Avenue in Costa Mesa, the site of a former industrial property.
The amenity-laden project, located about 1 mile from Hoag Hospital, is expected to cost about $60 million, including $10 million the developer paid for the land, said Nexus President Cory Alder.
The three-story project should be completed by late next year. About 40 units at the project have been preleased, according to the developer.
Vivante is the highest-profile project Nexus has taken up locally since finishing up construction of Santa Ana’s two-building Skyline at MacArthur Place—the tallest residential buildings in Orange County—about four years ago.
It also could be the start of new line of business for Nexus, which is considering a similar retirement community project in Palm Springs, and eyeing sites in Los Angeles and Northern California.
Higher-end projects for seniors are a rarity for OC’s coastal areas, Alder said.
“There hasn't been a senior living community (in the area) in 20 years,” he said.
Vivante is most likely to compete with projects like Corona del Mar’s Crown Cove, which is owned by Irvine-based MBK Real Estate Ltd. and counts about 84 units.
The Vivante project also will include a 40-unit section dedicated to residents with memory impairment diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Housing for that segment of the market has been underserved locally, according to Alder.
More than 46,000 people in OC have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, according to the developer’s marketing materials.
Vivante isn’t your grandparent’s typical retirement community.
It has more than 30,000 square feet of amenity space, including an indoor saltwater pool, rooftop lounges, a coffee bar, hair salon, fitness center, and dining areas that feature a sushi bar and wood-fired pizza oven. The goal is to provide entertainment and dining options to residents who are accustomed to eating out at Newport Beach locations such as the Gulfstream restaurant or the Big Canyon Country Club, Alder said.
“We’re delivering a higher level of care,” Alder said.
Monthly rents for a majority of the units at Vivante—which range from studios running about 450 square feet to two-bedroom units nearing 1,200 square feet—start near $4,000 and can go to nearly $6,700.
Those costs include food, transportation, housekeeping and other services.
Vivante should appeal to older Newport Beach residents looking for a high-end retirement community in the immediate area, as well as adult children of aging parents who want them to live nearby, according to the developer.
Nexus expects that about two-thirds of its residents will come from the local area, although the project has received interest from potential renters from outside California.
Deposits have already been made by tenants ranging in age from 61 to 93 years old, the company said.
The developer has set up its sales office and put up a model resident suite in a high-profile Newport Beach location, along West Coast Highway, near the Balboa Bay Club.
“We want the eyeballs,” Alder said.
The development of Vivante, near the border of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, has been a few years in the making.
The site, at 1640 Monrovia Ave., a few blocks from the edge of the proposed Banning Ranch development, previously was an Eaton Corp. aerospace plant. Nexus initially planned a $45 million mixed-use project at the site called Westside Lofts, featuring about 150 for-sale condos. It began exploring other options for the land as the housing market cooled.
About three-and-a-half years ago, when Nexus was wrapping up work at its 25-story Skyline towers—which now is a for-rent project—it was approached by senior housing officials who asked if the developer could build a project for seniors with high-end features similar to that of Skyline, according to Alder.
With the site “a minute from Hoag,” and the difficulty in finding land for similar senior-living projects in OC hard to come by, the developer saw a good opportunity to build a project for an underserved market, Alder said.