Ground Breaks on $14M Upscale Rental Retirement Community in Florida

Melbourne, Fla.--Work has gotten underway on Sonata at Melbourne, a 127-residence rental retirement community that will help fulfill a need for seniors housing.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer

Melbourne, Fla.–Work has gotten underway on Sonata at Melbourne, a 127-residence rental retirement community in Melbourne, Fla. Sonata Health Care L.L.C. is the developer of the $14 million luxury apartment project.

Winter Park Construction is acting as general contractor for the development that will provide a continuum of care to occupants. In addition to the independent-living apartment units, the environmentally friendly property will provide assisted-living and memory-care assisted-living accommodations, all of which facilitate an age-in-place environment. Amenities at the community are indicative of the active lifestyle that a growing number of progressive seniors seek today. Offerings include a fitness and wellness center, bistro, spa, hair salon and library.

In Melbourne and surrounding areas, there is a market for property types like Melbourne at Sonata, which is located approximately one hour southeast from Orlando. “Aging baby boomers are utilizing these facilities because of their all-in-one convenience and comfortable lifestyle,” Jeff Forrest, president of Winter Park, notes in a statement. “With the first of the boomers reaching age 65 in 2011, seniors are by far the fastest growing population sector. Construction of new senior-living communities has been relatively flat over the past few years, and as a result, there is significant demand in certain markets for new retirement and assisted-living communities.”

According to Stephen M. Monroe, a partner with seniors housing data provider Irving Levin Associates Inc., the timing is right for the commencement of seniors housing projects, particularly continuing-care retirement communities like Sonata at Melbourne. “Florida was hit the worst in the housing collapse, so it will probably be one of the slowest to come back,” Monroe tells MHN. “A lot of seniors are seeing that their house that was worth $300,000 before the crisis is now worth $200,000, and that price may not go back up anytime soon. The elderly may not want to wait that long. A lot of seniors who would have sold their homes and rented an independent-living apartment a few years ago decided to delay the move for a few years and keep their houses. Now they’re three years older. We’ll begin to see some of the elderly say, ‘I’m tired of waiting.'”

As more seniors decide to move forward with their postponed plans, and as the baby-boomer population grows older, the need for more seniors housing will increase. “There is going to be pent-up demand–generated by the downturn from 2008 through 2010–for properties that are going to open in 2012,” Monroe says. Sonata at Melbourne is scheduled to reach completion in 2012. Sonata Health Care also recently broke ground on Serenades at Sonata, a $4.1 million senior living retirement community in Longwood. The project marks Sonata Health Care’s debut.

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