By Andie Lowenstein, Associate Editor
Avanti Senior Living, an innovative senior living development, operations and management company, is expanding into Lafayette and Baton Rouge, La. Avanti at Lafayette will be a boutique-style assisted living and memory care community, different from all other properties in the area. The 77,000-square-foot, $15 million community will offer 50 assisted living suites and 40 memory care suites. Avanti plans to begin construction later this year. MHN spoke with Lori Juneau-Alford, COO of Avanti Senior Living, to find out the inspiration behind the new unique properties coming to Louisiana.
MHN: What was the inspiration for Avanti to bring this new type of senior living to Lafayette and Baton Rouge?
Juneau-Alford: We’ve been in the business for many, many years and with that have recognized where the industry lacks. We felt as though our industry needed a little bit of a shake-up. We took a different approach to it and looked at it from the perspective of who we sell to, who we serve and who we employ, all of which are females for the most part. With that, we made a little bit of a feminine twist and looked at the services we would be providing within the community to accommodate the changing needs and ones that our aging population is requiring.
We technically are headquartered in Houston, but we recognize the look of our projects that are being developed in Texas will be different compared to the Louisiana projects. We believe it’s our job, when we go into each market, to become that market versus making that market become us. Our Texas look and feel is very Texas rock. Our Louisiana markets need to look like what the expectations are of Louisiana’s architecture and development. In our Baton Rouge project we’ll have an LSU room and near New Orleans in Covington we’ll have a Saints room.
MHN: How do you think the new property will affect the surrounding community?
Juneau-Alford: We really like Lafayette because I’m from Baton Rouge so I’ve been in the industry for 17 years and being able to give it back to my home state is really exciting. We think that Avanti and Lafayette are a perfect mix because we consider Avanti to be forward-thinking and trendy yet classic and having high expectations. We think that Lafayette has the same kind of feel and desires as that. So, they’re hip and trendy but they’re still classic and that market has really high expectations because of the folks that live there. So we’re just excited to go there because we feel as though we can meet the consumer demands and expectations and we’ll provide Lafayette with a different alternative compared to competitors in that market.
MHN: Can you discuss for me your thoughts about the New Orleans housing market and its economic recovery?
Juneau-Alford: Our market in the New Orleans market is technically in Covington so it’s across the bay a little bit. We like that market because it’s close enough to New Orleans that you really get that New Orleans flare but it’s a little bit more urban compared to New Orleans. So, you still get the hometown feel but that area is really growing. A lot of the new developments happening in that area are very forward-thinking and Class A assets.
MHN: What keeps you up at night?
Juneau-Alford: The one thing that keeps me up at night is our people and making sure that we’re hiring the best people in every marketplace and training them to the best of our abilities because at the end of the day, it’s the people that make it happen, they’re really the heartbeat of the building.