The Evolution of Retirement Communities

by Jeff Weiss

I have been watching with great interest the development and launch of Latitude Margaritaville – a planned community for Active Aging consumers who are looking to live the “Margaritaville” lifestyle.  This is not a retirement community, but a development that appeals to a community rooted in an interest that goes well beyond the retirement that brings them together.

I believe that we are on the cusp of a significant change, not only to the development but also to the branding of communities for Active Aging consumers.  This group wants to enjoy life to the fullest and much of their enjoyment often focuses on their passion points and areas of interest.  They want to spend more time doing the things they love most and spend it with people who have similar interests.

We’ve already started to see this trend in the cruise line industry with themed cruises being all the rage.  Do you like to tango? How about cruising the high seas on a Dance Cruise?  Are you more interested in finances?  Check out the Forbes Cruise for Investors.  Or for those into a more “liberal” lifestyle, why not spend a week on a Bliss Cruise with other swingers and exhibitionists!

This trend got me thinking about new developments and potential branded and themed communities like Margaritaville – places where Active Agers could live and enjoy life doing the things they love the most with similar-minded people. Following are some potential ideas for such communities:

Valvoline Village — This is the perfect community for those people who live and breathe automobiles.  Whether you only have one special “child” (mine would be a 1964 Mustang convertible!) or several, Valvoline Village has everything that you ever wanted or needed related to your love of automobiles.  Amenities include a complete auto body and service shop where you can work on your vehicle with others, an Indianapolis-style race track to test the limits of your car and your driving capabilities, and a detailing area where you can spend hours pampering your baby.  And of course, you’ll be able to chat and drive with some racing legends who visit the development on a regular basis.

Orlando Magic Kingdom — For those Active Agers who have never lost their love of Disney (and we all know some of these folks!), this community is an amazing collaboration between the Orlando Magic and Disney.  Whether you enjoy the thrill of the craziest roller coaster ride of your life or having dinner with Mickey or playing a little 3-on-3 with an ex-NBA star, this community is perfect for you!

Playstation Paradise — While Active Agers love to play their video games, this community is for those folks who just love to play games in general.  From board games to card games to Jenga tournaments to an intense tournament to determine who will be crowned this week’s Mario Brothers champion, Playstation Paradise is the place for you.  With state of the art gaming facilities, ongoing instruction and special appearances by world-renowned gamers, every day will be a new adventure for you.

Broadway Boulevard — Think community theater in a big way on a full-time basis.  Equipped with stages and the latest in technology when it comes to staging and costume design, Broadway Boulevard is ideal for anyone who has a keen interest in live performance theater.  Community members can participate in a wide variety of plays ranging from musicals to tear-jerking dramas with expert coaching from actors and directors.  Write your own play, design your own costume or head to the theater to watch a show performed by friends, this community is the place for you!

Jamie Oliver Garden — This is my community!  This is the place for Active Agers who love food in the true sense of farm to table.  Source your own food from the vegetables grown in the community garden to raising chickens who produce fresh eggs in the barn, and then expertly prepare them with other foodies under the guidance and teaching of professional chefs.  Learn how to cook dishes from around the world and enjoy them with a nice bottle of wine with friends within the community. And, of course, Jamie will make appearances along with other celebrity chefs.

So, which community is best for you?

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