Billy Pettit was surprised to find an organic relationship growing between market-rate renters of all ages and senior renters through a shared amenity space.
Pettit’s Pillar Properties built The Corydon in Seattle’s University District adjacent to a seniors property built by Merrill Gardens, Pillar's parent company. The two properties share a courtyard, and residents mix and mingle without any prompting from the managers. Additionally, the Merrill Gardens property has a dining room space that The Corydon’s residents can use.
“People [from The Corydon] regularly purchase meal-plan cards where they can just use it for takeout or to grab a quick breakfast,” Pettit says.
This connection has been so successful that Pettit’s team has planned to build another Pillar community across from a Merrill Gardens community in Burien, Wash.
The hope with the Burien development is that market-rate baby boomer renters will be able to get an introduction to senior living.
“This allows for somebody who is fully independent, who might not be ready to live in senior housing, to experience what living in a Merrill Gardens community is like,” he says. “We’re doing that by offering a service-and-amenity package to renters who are living next door in the Pillar building.”
In addition to dining options, other services, such as housekeeping, are offered to Pillar renters as an amenity package.
“It takes a number of unique fundamentals in a market to make one of these projects successful,” Pettit says. “Not every location has that, and we approach each Merrill Gardens property as a senior opportunity and each Pillar opportunity from an apartment-living standpoint. But this is something that truly evolved on its own.”