Universities find a new way to profit off real estate: senior living

More colleges are providing senior living for boomers entering retirement and interested in hitting the books

TRD NATIONAL /
Dec.December 21, 2019 12:00 PM
Lasell Village president Anne Doyle (inset) (Credit: iStock)

Lasell Village president Anne Doyle (inset) (Credit: iStock)

Universities have a whole new class of “seniors” on campus.

A new report from the Wall Street Journal says many colleges are building senior living facilities on or near campus to profit off the school’s largest asset: property. With baby boomers entering their retirement years, the senior living market is about to be flooded with customers, and they have expressed interest in pursuing higher education in their later years.

This could be a win-win situation for universities, since enrollment in college courses is predicted to take a large drop after 2025 due to declining birth rates.

Lasell University in Newton, Massachusetts was one of the first colleges to catch on to this trend and built one of the first senior living communities on their campus called Lasell Village. Its program requires 450 hours of university activities.

“Thinking about how you combine these two decidedly separate industries… provides enormous opportunity,” Anne Doyle, president of Lasell Village, told the Journal. “One is in a growth industry and the other is service a demographic that’s declining.”

Other colleges investing in the idea are University of Central Florida and the SUNY system. Legacy Pointe in Florida will have 296 retirement homes and SUNY-Purchase is constructing a 220-unit senior living development. The homes will be priced up to $1.9 million for a two-bedroom with additional monthly charges. Residents will enjoy amenities offered by the campus including auditing classes and campus events.

“It’s been really overwhelming, the interest in lifelong learning,” said Todd Show to the Wall Street Journal, an executive at Life Care Services. “There’s something there that’s not just about living in a place that will take care of me for the rest of my life.” [Wall Street Journal]Jacqueline Flynn


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