ASSISTED LIVING: Are Gays And Lesbians A Growing Market?
A Massachusetts entrepreneur "is laying the groundwork for what would be one of the first chains of assisted living and retirement facilities marketed to elderly gay men and lesbians in the nation," the Boston Globe reports. Brenda Cole, the head of Emerald City Residences Inc., is targeting several cities, including Boston, for the "$75 million, for-profit project." According to Cole, "she is 'very close' to closing a deal with an investor that will leave her with $6.5 million in seed money to break ground for the first 120-unit facility ... located in Fort Lauderdale, FL." She said that "[d]epending on the market and the size of the units, condominiums could cost anywhere from $160,000 to $275,000; assisted living services ... would likely run an additional $2,000 to $3,500 per month." Cole said, "All elders require the same kind of care when they age, but what I am going to be providing in the facilities that I am building is the sense of community they are used to."
An Overlooked Market
The Globe notes that "specific demographic considerations have begun to drive the" assisted-living market, and "[f]or a variety of reasons, gays and lesbians have become the newest niche." Dave Mulryan, a principal with a New York advertising agency said, "You have a group of people, starting with the gay baby boomer generation, who have spent their adult life living in somewhat of a gay community. I don't think they are going to suddenly wake up at retirement and say 'I don't want to do that anymore.'" Ellen Lutch Trager, director of health care strategies at Brown, Rudnick, Freed & Gresmer, said, "This particular market has fallen through the cracks in the assisted living and senior care area" (Babson, 2/25).