A lack of affordable senior/assisted living facilities in the Valley prompted the development of new projects that will offer residents the same level of care as other market-rate products, but at an attainable price for seniors with a fixed low-income.

Scottsdale-based Solterra Senior Living manages, owns and operates independent, assisted living and memory care communities in Colorado and Arizona, which will include three new developments coming down the pike: Bridgewater at Deer Valley, Bridgewater at Midtown and a third facility in Avondale, which will break ground late 2017.

While the Valley is a hotspot for senior/assisted living facilities, the latest Bridgewater projects are unique because it targets an underserved market segment, which consists of seniors with fixed incomes that rely on pension, social security and veteran aid payments.

According to Genworth Financial’s 2017 Long Term Cost of Care Survey, the median price for a assisted living apartment in Arizona costs $3,500.

The Bridgewater communities will accept Medicaid residents and offer seniors quality care that they can afford on limited incomes by utilizing programs like the Veteran Pension/Aid & Attendance, a relatively unknown program, in which veterans and their widowed spouses may be eligible to receive $2,126 per month, tax free.

Steve Jorgensen from J-Bar Companies

“To qualify for low income at either community,” the projects’ developer Steve Jorgenson, president and CEO of J-Bar Companies, says, “residents’ annual income must not exceed 60 percent of the area median income or $26,460 for an individuals and $30,240 for couples.”

Another unique feature to the Bridgewater properties are its “community benefit advocates,” which Jorgenson says, are individuals that make it easy for families to maneuver the low income qualification process and also share information on Medicaid and Military Veteran Wartime Pension, Aid & Attendance.

The first facility to be completed this April was Bridgewater Deer Valley, a former Plaza Inn and Suites Hotel, that was redeveloped into a new low income assisted living community offering all the amenities one would find in a market rate private pay community, but at a much lower cost.

Located at Interstate 17 and Union Hills Avenue, Bridgewater Deer Valley, is a 100-percent low-income assisted living community with 150 studio units and 16 one-bedroom units.

Greg Corns from Solterra Senior Living

“It’s really focused on the market that maybe wouldn’t be able to afford traditional market rate product,” says Greg Corns, vice president of development and acquisition for Solterra Senior Living. “The other side to this is that individuals are living longer and many didn’t plan to live as long as they have. Bridgewater will allow these individuals to live in a quality community and reduce their annual spend down, providing that security that so many seniors crave.”

The other building currently under construction at Third Avenue and Indian School Road, Bridgewater at Midtown, will be 85-percent low income and 15-percent market pay.

Last October, Solterra leased 1.93-acres to build the seven story, 164-bed senior/assisted living facility, which will conclude construction by the end of 2017 and open in early 2018.

“Nobody was really focusing on this modest income tier,” explains Corns. “The Midtown project’s feasibility study showed a need in the urban center for this product type.”

Will French from Cushman & Wakefield

Will French of Cushman and Wakefield, represented the owner, Cooper Companies, a private real estate company from Scottsdale, in the land lease for the Midtown project.

The deal took more than a year to close but French says, the property had a lot of pluses. “This site is extremely well located, close to the light rail,” he explains. “The area itself is mixed-use, mixed-income, close to amenities and hospitals.”

Unlike older senior living communities located in the peripherally of the metro area like West Sun City, Bridgewater at Midtown is centrally located making accessibility to amenities and family more convenient.

“Proximity is important,” says Corns. “Typically you want to be close to a hospital, amenities, stores, doctors, but people like to get out still even though they may need some assistance with their daily living.”

Looking ahead, Jorgenson predicts more affordable senior/assisted living facilities that are certified under the Health Care Cost Containment System coming down the pike in the years to come, including J-Bar Companies’ Avondale property that will break ground later this year.

Project Spotlights

Bridgewater Midtown aerial view

Bridgewater Assisted Living at Midtown
Developer: J-Bar Companies
General Contractor:   Kitchell
Architect:   Orcutt Winslow
Location: Third Avenue & Indian School Road, Phoenix
Size: 115,600 SF
Brokerage firm:  Cushman Wakefield
Start/Completion: October 2016 – December 2017

Bridgewater Midtown’s amenities include: full-service restaurant, bistro, theater room, fitness center, laundry rooms/service, library & business center and, designated exterior patios with city views.

Bridgewater at Deer Valley
Developer: J-Bar Companies
General Contractor:   Caliente Construction
Architect:   Devney Group
Location: 2641 W. Union Hills Drive, Phoenix
Size: 90,841 SF
Value: $8.2M (existing building); $7M (improvements)
Start/Completion: 8/16/16 – 4/15/17

Bridgewater Deer Valley will boost 150 studio units and 16 one-bedroom units and will provide a full-service restaurant, bistro, theater room, fitness center, laundry rooms/service, library & business center, a secured center courtyard with lush landscaping, putting green, and shaded seating areas. The interior has been completely renovated with all new windows, doors, flooring, additional activity areas, fresh paint and carpet.