Phoenix Big Target for Seniors Housing
We got a chance to chat with Nabil Abou-Haidar, who just joined the Phoenix office Cuningham Group Architecture and will be leading the firm’s seniors living practice. Nabil, a 20-year designer vet who came over from Orcutt Winslow, is one of the Southwest's premier seniors housing designers, an industry that could see a big surge in activity here in the coming years as Baby Boomers retire. And he tells us it makes sense that Phoenix is in the crosshairs for seniors living developers. Just think back to the winter storms that tore through much of the US. “Here we have 70- and 80-degree weather. How could you not want to retire here?” (Unless you're Santa Claus, and even he's probably tempted at times.)
Here is Nabil's latest project (with Orcutt Winslow), the redesign of the Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix. But Nabil does say the industry needs to monitor itself before overbuilding seniors housing product—which similarly broke the industry in the late 1990s. “If you think if you build it, they will come, you could be creating a bubble,” he says. If a development is targeted toward active seniors—those not yet needing specialized care—the properties need features that attract seniors: convenient amenities; open floor plans; and the right location. (They also tend to enjoy shuffleboard.) “You have to go beyond ADA,” he says.