COSTA MESA, CA-“Our philosophy is very simple: celebrate the rich histories of the residents here and give them the lifestyle they deserve.” So says Phill Barklow, VP operations of Nexus, the developer of luxury retirement community Vivante on the Coast. “We live by the mantra that these are the folks that helped build Orange County and make it the place we call home. We want to celebrate them—not just build a community focused on efficiency.”

As reported earlier today, Vivante is a multi-award-winning community slated for completion this fall. The community is the first such development for Barklow, a gerontology major who has been in the senior-housing industry for 20 years but has never been directly involved in the design and development of one.

“Typically in senior housing, you see small studios, dilapidated design and few amenities,” says Barklow. “We wanted to build a community that anybody of any age would want to live in.”

Vivante was envisioned by Nexus to provide residents with a luxurious retirement community experience currently unavailable in the marketplace. Featuring an exquisite culinary program with a variety of superior dining options, a complete fitness and physical-therapy facility with an indoor saltwater pool, large outdoor courtyards, rooftop decks and other resort-style amenities and programming, the community is meant to encourage a social and active lifestyle for residents. Located at 1640 Monrovia Ave. on the border of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, Vivante is ¼ mile from Hoag Hospital, encompasses nearly 200,000 square feet of space on a 4.5-acre gated, private campus and includes more than 31,000 square feet of indoor amenity space.

And the price tag? “Normally, when you have a community that has the amenities and the higher-end design that we have, you associate that with a $100,000 to $3-million buy-in,” says Barklow. “We didn’t want to go that route, so we just did market-rate apartments. There’s a $3,500 one-time community fee, and then it’s month-to-month after that.”

The community is slightly more than 50% preleased—which, Barklow says, in senior housing is unheard of—and at the current rate, he expects it will be up to 90% preleased by the time it opens in mid-October.

“People are coming into the leasing office and asking to lease the biggest apartments we have, and they’re surprised that the apartments they want are gone,” says Barklow.

Part of the reason for the demand is that the lack of luxury retirement communities in Orange County due to significant barriers to entry such as difficulty finding a large-enough piece of land to buy a community of this caliber. “There are huge issues with finding a good piece of property that’s the right size for building a community like this,” says Barklow. “The land allows us to have so many more amenities in our community, such as the four beautiful exterior courtyards and a walking path. It allows us to be bigger than our competitors.”

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