Second floor bedrooms? A basketball court with a jungle gym? No
clubhouse?

The retirement community of the future may have some features
that surprise you, according to developers interviewed recently by
The New York Times. It may also be missing some features you've
growth to expect. The changes are intended to attract Baby Boomers
who are clearly not looking to spend their retirement the way their
parents did.

"Some 55 and older are still working and want office space,"
says Tim Touhey, president of the New Jersey Builders Association.
"Some may have adult children living at home. They want more
variety and choice. And the development community is driven by what
the market wants."

Listening to the market seems to be working. Luther Gueyikian,
president of New Jersey-based Byron-Hill Homebuilders, is building
7 new houses in his newest adult community, the first new homes
there since 2007. He plans to add 210 homes over the next few
years. But that kind of success hasn't come without some
adjustments by Gueyikian and other builders. These include: 

  • Scaled-down homes. Gueyikian is accustomed to building $2
    million to $3 million homes on 2 or more acres each. Now he's
    putting homes on one-tenth of an acre and charging between $479,000
    and $755,000.
  • Relaxed age restrictions. Gueyikian's newest community now
    requires that only one person in each home be older than 55. Other
    home residents can be as young as 19. That change came only after
    New Jersey planning officials granted a variance.
  • New ways of viewing space. Some developers are converting
    attic space into loft bedrooms, or adding finished basements for
    visiting grandchildren.
  • Mixed-use conversions. Other developers are getting permission
    to convert their planned age-restricted developments to a mix of
    single-family homes and age-restricted affordable rental
    apartments.