By JORDAN HOUSTON
GSN Staff Writer

East Valley seniors with some extra cash will soon have the opportunity to enjoy a lavish lifestyle — complete with personalized medical care — in Mesa’s very first “biocity” campus.

Grande Vita, a BioCity Enterprise by Khangura Development, recently broke ground on a 20-acre, multi-use and campus-style community at Crimson Road and Hampton Avenue, East Mesa.

The goal for the $300 million project is to provide a luxury space where seniors can “age in place” while also having access to top-notch medical services.

“Staying in place is ultimately for the betterment of their health and longevity,” said BioCity Enterprises COO Kelly Copeland. “They will live longer if they are not put through the traumatic events of hospital visits where they don’t know where they’re going to go or who’s watching out for them.”

The concept, he explained, is to create an environment where clinical health care delivery and research co-exist in the same place that “society’s brightest and best” want to live.

The campus will cover nearly 700,000 square feet of independent and assisted living, hotel rooms, multiple dining options, medical offices, a luxury tower, condos, a dog park, exercise track, chapel, a nursing school and rehab clinic.

“The name (Grande Vita) stands for Italian ‘grand life.’ When we were choosing it, we looked at the names of other assisted livings and noticed they would line up with the same names as cemeteries,” said Copeland.

“We’re looking at this more from a perspective that your retirement is not the end; it’s the beginning of a grand life,” he continued.

Copeland said that the design draws its inspiration from a cruise ship, where the ground floor has restaurants, game rooms and a spa similar to that of the main corridor.

BioCity also plans on incorporating a resort-style design, including reflecting pools, pergolas, fountains and green roofs.

The integrated living facility, according to the COO, will connect the seniors to skilled services with medical care tailored to their specific needs.

The campus will have its own in-house urgent care, hospice, memory care, home health agency and labs.

“The secret sauce is that we are the developers, but we’re also the operators,” said Copeland. “It’s important for us to be the single owner because that’s the true continuum of care.”

“When you enter BioCity, you are under our guidance, observation and medical care the entire time that you’re there,” he added. “We never lose you and we will follow your medical records and your dietary plans at the restaurants.”

Grande Vita will house over 350 people and has no age requirements.

As far as costs go, which ring in around $8,500 to $10,500 per month, Copeland is confident the market is there.

“An indigent who lives off of social security is probably going to be in a facility that costs somewhere around $2,500 to $3,500 a month — that’s the lowest for government assisted programs out there,” he said. “The next level is private pay, and you’re looking at $4,500 to $6,500 per month.”

“The other half of the extreme is the one percent, and they’re either putting their parents in nursing homes or assisted livings but have full-time nursing care or a fulltime in their home,” he continued.

“That’s going to cost $20,000 to $30,000 a month. We’re right in between — it’s not outrageous and is still somewhat affordable if you add up all the services that you’re getting.”

According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day.

The United States Census Bureau states that 15.8 percent of Mesa’s population is 65 years or older, and that 8.6 percent of that population is living below the poverty level.

Copeland told the East Valley Tribune that even though data might not reflect a high number of seniors who can afford this type of living on their own, family members play a key role in funding.

“This is for the upper percentage of people that have higher income and savings, and that have planned with long-term care insurance,” he said. “Then of course the family obviously kicks in and helps as well.

“We feel that the network of people who take care of the senior populations is enough of a percentage for us to be able economically build multiple locations when you add in everybody else who is helping,” he continued.

“The baby boomers’ generation of children is more educated — they raised a more affluent generation than themselves. That was their goal.”

The COO said he thinks the Grande Vita is the future of senior living, and that the development will be tailoring its marketing campaign for not only Mesa, but around the world as well.

Mesa will also benefit from the development, he added.

  “If it does take off and Mesa is the prototype and the first one — that will always be Mesa’s claim to fame,” said Copeland. “We’re looking to redefine the way that healthcare is delivered and the way seniors are taken care of.”

The Grande Vita will create more than 450 jobs and is expected to be completed in three years.