A new senior living community developed by Kiawah Partners is slated to break ground near Kiawah Island this year.
The yet unnamed 200-unit project, expected to cost $125 million, will overlook the lake next to Freshfields Village, across from the Andell Inn. The rental community will have residences for independent living, assisted living units and memory care units; it will also have resort-style amenities such as its own movie theater, multiple pools and a fitness facility with a yoga studio.
Kiawah Partners, which owns the private Kiawah Island Club, is working with Big Rock Partners, a real estate investment management and development firm with offices in California and Florida, to build the community.
When private equity real estate firm South Street Partners acquired Kiawah Partners in 2013, the company held meet-and-greets to learn what Kiawah Island residents wanted.
“A recurring theme that we kept hearing was better health care services and an opportunity to open up a senior living development,” said Chris Randolph, a partner at South Street Partners.
Randolph said developing the senior living community is the first phase of bringing expanded medical service offerings to the island.
“From a senior living perspective, a lot of the residents on the island who are aging start getting concerned about losing touch with their friends and social circles on the island when they’re going to have to find a new facility to live in,” he said, adding that’s why Kiawah Partners felt this was an important first step.
“Also, there was younger residents who were very interested in moving their parents down to Kiawah but never really had an opportunity to do so,” Randolph added.
Randolph said partnering with Big Rock made sense for Kiawah Partners because Big Rock has experience building senior living communities in Florida and its level of quality matches that of Kiawah Island.
Richard Ackerman, senior managing principal of Big Rock Partners, also thought Kiawah Partners and Big Rock Partners were a great match: Ackerman has been a part-time resident of the Lowcountry for 25 years, he said, and he’d been looking for a local project.
“For us, this is a real jewel, a tremendous opportunity for our firm because it really showcases what we do, which is very sophisticated mixed-use senior housing,” Ackerman said. “Kind of a new-gen senior housing.”
He added that there isn’t much upscale senior housing in the Lowcountry but that he sees a growing demand for it.
Randolph said Kiawah Partners was receiving calls from people who wanted to be on a waiting list within six hours of announcing the new community, but those folks will need to be patient — the community isn’t slated to open until 2020.
Randolph said people on the list will receive more information about the community when it gets closer to opening — they’re not taking reservations yet — and Ackerman said he plans to hold public meetings sometime next year to tell Kiawah Island and the surrounding locales about the community.
“It’s not something you deal with every day,” Ackerman said. “You usually make a decision like this once in your lifetime, and if you haven’t really been to see a new building in 2018, your mind’s wrapped around 1990 or 1985. We like to educate, we have a big education process.”