Baby Boomers Want Space, Lifestyle Amenities in Apartments

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What kind of neighborhood are boomers looking for? Today’s developers are getting just as creative in where they build as in what they build.

Billy Pettit has a unique outlook on what seniors housing is and what it won’t be very soon.

“Seniors, today, tend to follow the rules and live by the rules,” Pettit says. “But the baby boomers—they tend to redefine the rules.”

And because of that, Pettit predicts that conventional senior housing will have a complete product overhaul as the baby boomers age.

As vice president of Seattle-based Pillar Properties, Pettit has a unique perspective on seniors housing. Pillar is the market-rate component of R.D. Merrill Co., which also owns the well-known senior living company Merrill Gardens. And sometimes the two companies develop side by side, giving Pettit the inside scoop on what’s to come.

Baby boomers are expected to account for 20% of American renters by 2020, according to Census Bureau projections. Today’s developers are tasked with building apartments that will attract and retain this ever-changing demographic. It all starts with finding the perfect site that will provide enough space and a neighborhood that accommodates the lifestyle baby boomers want.

Pettit has started to see more  boomers try apartment living, especially in the firm’s newly built downtown Seattle apartment community Stadium Place.

“Some of the baby boomers have started to downsize and relocate from the suburbs to the urban core, and they’re looking for a location that caters to their lifestyle,” he says.

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