Senior living community sees $5M remodel

The owners and staff of the Five Star Premier Residences of Reno senior living community originally planned a modest facelift of the property. But they soon realized the community could use a full-scale makeover. By the time the 14-month remodeling project was completed, it cost a little more than $5 million.

“We started at $150,000 and the project just grew from there,” said Jim Cox, executive director of Five Star Premier Residences, at the Jan. 22 grand re-opening of the remodeled facility.

Five Star Quality Care, a senior living and healthcare services company based in Newton, Mass., bought the approximately 275,000-square-foot property, which was formerly called the Classic Residence by Hyatt.

But even with the pricey renovations, the staff feels it was money well spent.

“We’re thrilled with the renovations,” said sales manager Ceci Martin.

What drove the need for such an overhaul? The initial remodel was intended to give the community a fresh look while enhancing the residents’ safety and comfort. But as the process unfolded, there was a sense that the community keep up with the changing expectations of the industry.

“Senior living is becoming much more hospitality-based,” said Cox. So the community hashed out plans to several new amenities.

Among the new features were:

The Corner Cafe for coffee and pastries.

The Piano Lounge, a remodel of the community’s common gathering area.

The Sagecrest, a community and private dining area.

The Five Star Theatre, an entertainment center for movies, lectures and sports that’s equipped with state-of-the-art audio video and web-based capabilities.

The Five Star Wellness and Rehabiliation center.

In addition, the lobby was remodeled, which included demolition of a fountain that sat in the middle of the area. The community spa was also taken out to make way for the wellness and rehabilitation center.

Avilla Construction was the general contractor along with approximately 40 to 50 subcontractors doing work on the job. Orcutt/Winslow, an architecture, planning and interior design firm out of Phoenix handled the architecture.

But the project did have its challenges. The reception area, for example, was relocated depending on what area was under construction. But the crew tried to minimize the impact it had on residents and staff.

“We worked in six phases.” Cox said “When we were wrapping up on one area, we were already moving on to the next.”

But the difficulties of keeping the property’s roughly 200 residents happy along with marketing the property to potential tenants went smoother than expected. The 205 living units —170 independent living and 35 assisted living apartments — were untouched. And they were sure to keep residents safe by cordoning off construction zones while keeping the property well lit.

Both Cox and Martin marveled at the willingness of tenants to be upbeat and patient throughout the process

“It was a huge challenge to show the property to potential residents,” Martin said. “The people who were here still stayed, and more people actually came in to look at the property and even move in.”


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