Assisted living community planned in Boston Three metropolitan Boston companies are planning St. Botolph Assisted Living Community, an 81-unit complex in the city's St. Botolph neighborhood. The Fenway Community Development Corp., Boston; Newton, Mass.-based Solomont Bailis Ventures; and Boston-based Affirmative Investments are hoping to have funding assembled by this summer. The construction cost is estimated at $15 million. Construction could start by early fall and would take one year to complete. Early designs call for the development to be 70,000 sq. ft. in size.

The development will feature 54 one-bedroom units and 27 studios, each one featuring a kitchenette and full bathroom. One-third of the apartments will be for low-income, Medicaid-eligible seniors; another third will be for moderate-income seniors. The remaining apartments will rent at market rates. Amenities will include brick sidewalks and a community room.

Winthrop, Mc-Nabb team up for Ga. assisted living complex Rome, Ga.-based Winthrop Management Services Inc. and Duluth, Ga.-based Mc-Nabb LLC are developing Winthrop at Tucker, a 60-unit, 40,000 sq. ft. assisted living facility in Gwinnett County, Ga. Construction began in December 1999, and completion of the $5 million development is scheduled for fall. Duluth-based Delta Construction is the builder.

Each unit will contain a microwave, refrigerator, wall-to-wall carpet, a smoke alarm and individually controlled heating and air conditioning. The building will also have front porches and a brick facade. Other features of the development include an ice-cream parlor, a recreation room, four solarium rooms and a private dining room.

Manorhouse planning Pa. assisted living complex Richmond, Va.-based Manorhouse Retirement Centers Inc. is planning Manorhouse of Bethlehem, an 84-bed, 51,000 sq. ft. assisted living community in Bethlehem, Pa., that will also provide dementia care. Construction of the $6 million, two-story development is expected to start in the spring. Completion is slated for early 2001.

The Hanover Township Board of Supervisors, a local governing body, recently granted its approval of the project. Manorhouse estimates the community will create about 50 full- and part-time jobs in Bethlehem.

Assisted living future is OK, says Ernst & Young, ALFA A recent study by New York-based Ernst & Young and the Fairfax, Va.-based Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) predicts that the assisted living industry will be a solid investment opportunity in the future. The report notes that, from 1996 to early-1999, the industry performed as well as other small- and mid-cap stocks found in the NASDAQ Composite and the Russell 2000 Index.

Since the beginning of 1999, the stock valuations of assisted living companies have dropped below their original IPOs.

The study also says industry capitalization was about $35 million in 1994. By 1997, that figure had ballooned to approximately $3.8 billion in 1997. However, during the past two years, that total has decreased to around $2 billion. These trends have led many to conclude the industry is currently undervalued, the report says.

The report admits that assisted living is hurt from an investment standpoint by inconsistent market values and a slow transaction rate. The report also notes that the future looks good considering that many companies are undervalued and the demand for seniors housing will rise in the near future as baby boomers age.

Golden Living sees golden opportunity in Texas Dallas-based Golden Living Communities is developing the 230-unit Town Village Arlington independent living facility in Arlington, Texas. Construction of the community began in September 1999; completion is scheduled for this winter. Houston-based Cypress Senior Living owns the complex, which will be managed by Dallas-based 12 Oaks Management Services Inc.

Town Village Arlington will feature 28 studios, 132 one-bedroom and 50 two-bedroom apartments. Also, 20 units will contain a one-bedroom, one-study floor plan. Residents have to furnish the units. Rents will include meals, scheduled transportation, utilities and housekeeping.

The community will also feature a media room, a library/computer lab, a golf putting green, a sundries store and an emergency call system. The facility will be Cypress Senior Living's second independent-living community in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex.

Senior Resource developing Phoenix dementia-care facility San Diego-based Senior Resource Group LLC is developing Hawthorn Court at Ahwatukee, a $4.5 million, 44-unit dementia-care community in Phoenix. Construction of the single-story, 37,000 sq. ft. building began last fall, and completion is expected by July. Senior Resource will also manage the property.

Approximately 40% of the development will consist of common-space areas, such as dining and activity rooms, and health facilities. Hawthorn Court will also feature a built-in aviary and aquarium, and outdoor gardens.

California and Florida are the hot markets Perhaps it will come as no surprise, but California and Florida are projected to be the hottest markets in seniors housing over the next few years. That's according to Palo Alto, Calif.-based Marcus & Millichap's suburban Seattle office. "California will see the most development" in terms of new units, says John Chang, a seniors-housing analyst at Marcus & Millichap.

Citing statistics from the Washington, D.C.-based American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), he notes that California added 3,001 seniors housing units in 1997; 3,716 in 1998; and 6,662 in 1999. (By seniors housing units, ASHA means assisted living, independent living, congregate care and continuing care units.)

Chang projects California will add approximately 8,000 more units this year. After that, the state's rate of new units should flatten, he adds. Still, "8,000 is a very substantial number," he says. One reason for the increases of the last few years is that California has lagged behind some other states in the development cycle and is now in the midst of an aggressive production phase, he says.

As for Florida, it added 3,985 units in 1997; 5,501 in 1998; and 5,196 in 1999. Chang predicts the state will add about 7,000 units this year. He sees California and Florida holding on to their No. 1 and No. 2 positions.

Probably not coincidentally, Florida and California should lead the nation in the absolute growth of the population of seniors aged 75 and older. According to statistics gathered by Chang and Marcus & Millichap, that segment of Florida's population should grow by 75,302, California's by 60,824. When measured in terms of percentage, Nevada and Arizona are projected to lead.

Nevada's 75-and-older crowd should grow by 21.7%; Arizona's by 16.4%. Chang says Nevada could be overbuilt quickly because the absolute increase would be only 11,189. There is "a little more depth" to Arizona's growth, Chang says - that state's 75-and-older population would grow by 29,829.

As for slower markets, Texas is on the verge of being overbuilt. In 1997, the state added 6,015 seniors housing units. In 1998 and 1999, those figures were 5,879 and 4,310 units, respectively. Chang predicted this year's total in Texas would be less than last year's, although he didn't yet have a specific projection. He also said the Northeast will not present hot development opportunities due to declining senior populations.