By Chuck Sudo | Senior Housing News
A New Jersey-based full-service healthcare and commercial real estate development firm, CHA Partners, is launching a new assisted living and skilled nursing brand, LIVIA. CHA hopes to strike a necessary balance between hospitality and health care, as well as de-stigmatize the care types for a post-Covid consumer.
Bloomfield-based CHA Partners announced the launch of LIVIA with a community in the New Jersey town of East Hanover, consisting of 86 skilled nursing beds and 37 assisted living residences. A second community is under development in Totowa, New Jersey, and the firm holds a third license for a site in the Garden State’s Monmouth County, and hopes to begin construction within the next 12 to 18 months, Managing Partner Bill Colgan told Senior Housing News.
LIVIA conveys CHA’s belief that, while senior living has firmly rooted itself as a part of the care continuum, it has shifted too far in toward regulatory requirements in some ways, and the hospitality component needs to be brought back to the fore.
Colgan also believes that assisted living and skilled nursing have been unfairly portrayed throughout the pandemic in news reports and by politicians, and the brand has a goal of establishing a post-Covid image for the industry.
“Our focus is on quality of living, while providing health care services,” he said.
LIVIA at East Hanover is an adaptive reuse project of a 100,000 square-foot office building, which lent itself well for repurposing. The entrance was a glass atrium, which opens up to ample public space indoors and out.
The former office space, meanwhile, was adapted into small communities where residents can have their own living and dining rooms, in addition to traditional senior living amenities such as dining halls.
The first floor is a “Main Street” including a theater, game room, full-service bar and lounge, beauty spa, fitness center and cafe.
“These are all things that they are accustomed to doing. It allows people to feel like a family,” he said, referring to future residents.
The design encourages socialization and engagement, and should help ward off depression, which Colgan believes will improve quality of life and lead to positive health outcomes.
LIVIA at East Hanover is embracing technology, as well. Apartments are outfitted with Amazon Echo Show, so that residents can communicate with loved ones and staff at any time. A tech concierge is on premise to ensure residents and their families have everything they need to stay in touch via virtual settings.
“[We are using] very good, simple technology, because we’re dealing with a generation that is not as technologically savvy as the next generation will be,” Colgan said.
LIVIA’s second facility, in Totowa, will include memory care, subacute and adult medical daycare services, in addition to assisted living and skilled nursing when it opens in 2022. It will be co-located near a medical office building CHA is building that is expected to be completed later this year. The building is already leased to St. Joseph’s Health. Both projects are part of a 140-acre master planned development in Totowa including a data center, and research and development cohorts.
CHA sees potential to build scale with the LIVIA brand, but it will be organic. The firm’s current focus is to develop and stabilize the three communities in operation or under construction, then identify markets where the brand will be a good fit. Ultimately, CHA expects to open new LIVIA communities every 12 to 18 months.
“There is clearly a need for skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, but quality of life is more than just meeting their health care needs,” Colgan said.