Austin senior-living community expands with third building

Posted by Statesman News Network.

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Westminster recently broke ground on a third building — an estimated $75 million expansion with 117 units, all of which have pre-sold in record time.

Westminster announced the expansion last year.

The new building, called the Carlisle, was designed by Austin-based Pi Architects and is being built by Austin-based White Construction Co.

The planned five-story structure is the latest addition to Westminster’s 9.3-acre property at 4100 Jackson Ave., off North MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and south of West 45th Street.

“Even though we are in the midst of challenging times, I am proud to say that construction for The Carlisle is right on schedule,” Chuck Borst, Westminster’s executive director, said in a recent news release.

The Carlisle building’s 117 units include 43 independent-living apartments, 36 assisted-living residences and 38 memory-care units. Expanded dining options, with “grab-and-go” meals or wait service, as well as walking trails and a community dog park, also will be part of the expansion.

The new building is scheduled to be ready for its first residents by the end of 2022. It is being constructed on a parking lot by Westminster’s existing five-story Windsor building that is bordered by Bull Creek Road and Jackson Avenue.

When the Carlisle opens, Westminster will have 546 units in all: 387 independent living units; 36 assisted living residences; 38 memory care units; and 85 skilled nursing units.

The expansion comes as Central Texas is seeing a proliferation of senior-living communities open that offer a continuum of care, from independent living to assisted living and memory care, as the population ages.

With its emphasis on health and wellness and multiple dining options, Westminster’s expansion ties into the latest trends in modern senior living, which are focused around seniors “living longer and stronger,” said Greg Hunteman, president of Pi Architects.

Life Care Services, one of the nation’s largest senior-living management companies, manages Westminster and consulted on the expansion. Life Care Services operates and manages more than 130 communities nationwide, including 16 in Texas.

Presently, more than 450 residents live at Westminster. Apartments range in size from 450 square feet to 1,300 square feet.

The cost of living at Westminster includes a one-time entrance fee and a monthly service fee.

Westminster offers three types of contracts. Based on the contract and apartment type, the range for the entrance fee runs from about $80,000 for a standard plan to $1 million for the 90% “return of capital” plan, Borst said. The latter plan refunds up to 90% of the initial entrance fee, regardless of the length of residency.

The average monthly fee is about $4,250, Borst said. There are more than 150 people on the waiting list for larger, two-bedroom apartment homes, although one-bedroom units are available now, he said.

The Carlisle follows the 2013 expansion of the Windsor, Westminster’s second building. The Windsor currently has 74 independent living apartment homes, and is expanding with 18 more apartments. The Windsor also is adding more rehabilitation and physical therapy rooms, gyms, a cardio studio and a day spa.

In addition, Westminster officials said the community is adding three levels of underground parking with 300 spaces, along with 80 parking spaces above ground.

Bill Brown, one of Westminster’s volunteer board members, said Westminster has taken into account safety, traffic and parking with the expansion, providing shuttle services to employees to help minimize disruption for Westminster residents and the surrounding neighborhood.

Last year, Borst told the American-Statesman that Westminster’s expansion comes amid the “huge growth” the Austin area is seeing in its senior population. At that time, Austin had the second-fastest growing population of adults ages 55 to 64, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Borst has said Westminster’s expansion is based on a 2016 study commissioned by Westminster that analyzed the Austin region’s senior living needs over the next 25 years and beyond.

Across Texas, one in five people will be over the age of 65 by 2040, according to the University of Texas’ Aging and Longevity Center.

With seniors staying fit and living longer, more productive lives, Borst told the Statesman last year that Westminster is investing “in providing the most advanced amenities for the health and well being of its residents.”