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2018-03-07 / Real Estate

Growing Green

iStar looks to add apartments, senior housing to Magnolia Green
BY JIM McCONNELL STAFF WRITER


Officials with iStar Financial, Magnolia Green and Summit Vista in Park City, Utah, discussed plans last week for a new senior community, the Summit at Magnolia Green. Pictured: iStar Financials’ Tom Page with Kelly Onberg, Michelle Atkins and Karl Frey. 
ASH DANIEL Officials with iStar Financial, Magnolia Green and Summit Vista in Park City, Utah, discussed plans last week for a new senior community, the Summit at Magnolia Green. Pictured: iStar Financials’ Tom Page with Kelly Onberg, Michelle Atkins and Karl Frey. ASH DANIEL Magnolia Green’s New Yorkbased developer is diversifying its housing options again, hoping to draw people from both ends of the demographic spectrum to a rapidly growing part of western Chesterfield.

Nine years after it rescued Magnolia Green from bankruptcy, iStar Financial is partnering with Schell Brothers on the first apartments to be built within the sprawling 1,896-acre subdivision.

It also is working with a Utah company to create a “life plan community,” a high-end age-restricted apartment complex that includes a variety of medical care options, from assisted living to skilled nursing services.

More than 100 people attended a pair of information sessions last week about Summit at Magnolia Green, which eventually could include as many as 1,000 senior apartments along with a clubhouse, pool and other amenities on 70 wooded acres.

“We’ll have a product that fits every lifestyle and demographic out there,” said Tom Page, vice president of land and development for iStar.

Offering a diverse array of housing types, lot sizes and price points has been part of iStar’s strategy since it bought Magnolia Green out of foreclosure in 2009.

Magnolia Green is zoned for 3,550 homes, roughly one-third of which can be multifamily. While the community is best known for single-family homes, it already has 160 townhomes (with more in the works) and a new section of low-maintenance, one-story residences preferred by the 55-and-over set.

In addition to finishing the final nine holes of Magnolia Green’s golf course, iStar spent $10.5 million to build a new 15,000 square-foot golf clubhouse and 10-acre aquatic center that opened last year, and plans to begin construction on a tennis facility this spring.

Homebuyers have responded by making Magnolia Green one of the most popular residential communities in the Richmond region over the past five years. It had 208 new home sales in 2017, making it the top-selling subdivision in Chesterfield.

“We’re steadily increasing” Page said.

With Summit at Magnolia Green, iStar is trying to ride the “age wave” and capture a share of Chesterfield’s expanding market for senior housing.

The county’s Planning Department projects that Chesterfield will have more than 91,000 residents age 65 or older by 2045. That’s more than twice as many as there were in 2015.

At that point, seniors are expected to make up approximately 21 percent of the county’s total population. “The reality is, folks, you have choices. We are living longer as a nation. We have to really think about our future,” said Kelly Ornberg, director of sales and marketing for Summit at Magnolia Green, during one of the information sessions last week.

Ornberg lives in Park City, Utah, where she also is working on a 1,800-unit life plan community known as Summit Vista.

According to Karl Frey, executive vice president of land and development for iStar, there are only 40 such developments across the country.

The company is also an investor in the Utah project. As work progressed, officials thought Magnolia Green would be an ideal site for a senior facility.

“It’s an enormous financial commitment for a company that decides to get behind it,” Frey said, noting the up-front investment on a life plan community is about $100 million.

Ornberg acknowledged she’s “in the very early stages” of marketing Summit at Magnolia Green and assessing whether there is enough demand to make the project financially viable.

She’s received 300 requests for information kits so far. That was the target figure for the early interest campaign, which still has four more weeks to run.

A welcome center is expected to be open by June or July, at which point people can start putting down refundable $1,000 deposits to secure spots on a waiting list for apartments.

Page said if iStar decides to go forward with Summit at Magnolia Green, the first units should be ready for occupancy within two years.

“To have this inside a master-planned community where your [adult] kids can live right down the street and keep an eye on you, that kind of thing, I think that’s one of the reasons our response has been off the charts,” he added. ¦

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