Rather than locate a full-spectrum retirement and care center on a traditional large suburban or exurban parcel, Balfour Senior Care followed the trend of renters and homeowners moving downtown, even when they're older.
Balfour at Riverfront Park, close to downtown Denver's Union Station, museums, aquarium, and a baseball stadium, offers a full continuum of care in a 275,000-square-foot building on a landscaped, two-acre site.
Once a brownfield, the property still had its landmark Moffat Depot station, even if it was in bad shape. Balfour salvaged it and added buildings with a total capacity of 203 units.
Architect Brian Klipp drew inspiration for urban living from the skylines and apartments of cities such as Manhattan and Chicago, which, he says, are a stark contrast to the Western lifestyle of suburban living. He blended this reference with the historical nature of the area's architecture as well as new modern design now making a mark.
Besides offering a visually interesting setting and providing proper care, the developer knew that three components would make the buildings appeal more to occupants, as well as staff and family members: sociability, light, and quiet.
The renovated Moffat now functions as a great room, with a fireplace and baby grand piano. Each level of care is separated for best service and has its own common gathering area, such as the "SkyBar" on the top floor of the independent living building, which overlooks two parks.
Because light can improve residents' moods, the large windows of the former depot were repeated throughout the buildings and, in residents' units, were placed close to the floor to bring in extra light.
Because of the site's proximity to two active rail lines and a busy traffic intersection, the team took care to soundproof the windows and wall assemblies.
The project, which has taken 13 years to complete, represents a new paradigm, says Michael Schonbrun, Balfour's founder and CEO. "It's a trendsetting rental community for discerning members of the silent and boomer generations who prefer to lead the next chapter of their lives in a dynamic, urban setting among cultural institutions and chef-inspired restaurants, rather than in quiet suburbia," he says.