Housing demand for aging baby boomers is thriving, and active adult communities designed around golf or tennis are popping up everywhere. But not everyone wants to spend his or her golden years exclusively on the greens. Many retirees want to keep their minds engaged, too, prompting developers to embark on innovative senior housing projects near or on college campuses.

What draws active seniors back to campus? "It's a natural synergy," explains David Jones, project director for Kendal Corp., a Kennett Square, Pa., non-profit developer with seven near-campus communities.

"They want to continue to improve their lives, and lifelong learning is a big part of that," he says. Being on or near campus allows them to partake of college courses, Elderhostel programs, and cultural events.

For instance, at Capstone Village, a continuing care retirement community being built on the University of Alabama campus, residents will be able to:

  • Audit classes at no charge on a space-available basis.
  • Receive discounts at the university store.
  • Gain access to the university libraries and student recreational center.
  • Receive discounts to campus-based fine arts events, speaker series, and concerts.

"The challenge right now is to fill up the properties," Jones says. "Once they're full, though, they stay that way. We have a five-plus-year waiting list for some properties."