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High Rise Senior Living

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenOctober 5, 2016

Ambiance and lifestyle can have a strong impact on a senior’s quality of life. More than that, though, a senior living community’s amenities, location and layout can play a huge role in a senior’s happiness and socialization.

High rise senior living has become a hot topic, especially involving multi-generational living, and Maplewood Senior Living goes into detail about why this model might be the wave of the future for senior care.

The High Rise Senior Living Trend

The world is constantly looking for innovation when it comes to senior living, as over 50% of America prepares to retire over the next 30 years.


Rethinking aging in today’s society is necessary as people are living longer, are often retiring in their 60s — and are needing more specialized care than ever before.

It’s no secret that good quality of life through healthy living, inspiration and socialization are part of the recipe for success for aging baby boomers, and a new opportunity for senior empowerment is on the horizon.

We recently caught up with Gregory D. Smith, President and CEO of Maplewood Senior Living, to discuss why high rise senior living is the next big thing in senior care innovation. This multi-generational solution offers seniors a way to avoid isolation and stay active among society in a stimulating, urban environment.

Maplewood Senior Living has a vision to help seniors preserve their vitality in a high rise that will break ground in an Upper East Side community in the heart of New York. Read more in the exclusive interview below.

Maplewood Senior Living

A Place for Mom (APFM): What is high-rise senior living and how is it different from traditional senior living?

Gregory D. Smith (GDS): High rise senior living is a vertical lifestyle solution for seniors operated in, what is often times, an urban marketplace.  Typically, there are significant barriers to entry in these markets, tied directly to the cost of doing business, more specifically the cost of real estate in a more urban market. Maplewood Senior Living was able to creatively organize an assemblage of five separate properties with five separate counterparties where we will build this Upper East Side community on 2nd Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets.

Opening in early 2019, Maplewood at East 93rd Street will provide 215 luxury apartments, consisting of 23 floors, 212,000 square feet, with views of the East River. Now, NYC residents will be allowed to remain in the city in which they’ve always lived, maintain the lifestyle they’ve always enjoyed, and remain supported by others surrounding them. This is the first ground-up senior living community in nearly 20 years and we are thrilled to provide the city with new choices, and with opportunities for seniors to thrive in the city they’ve always known. Additionally, adult children who live and work in the city, now have options to allow their parent to live in close proximity.

APFM: How has the model been challenging to cater to America’s aging population?

GDS: NYC is a very unique marketplace. It is diverse and sophisticated, with residents who want to remain close to cultural opportunities, best in class and familiar healthcare, family and friends, social circles, transportation, and more. High rise senior living is often times challenged architecturally with how to connect with the city and street life.

This Maplewood project will uniquely offer luxurious living spaces, amenities, and have access to concierge services never seen before in senior living options in NYC. The community will be service-rich, with an architectural design focus on access to natural light and nature. Well-appointed fitness center with indoor swimming pool and skylight, unique sky park and terrace encompassing the entire 16th floor of the building and overlooking the East River, exploring the connection to the city with use of operable walls and screens that control views, and the creation of an urban farming terrace directly connecting residents with nature are just a sample of the distinctive amenities that can be expected at the community.

APFM: What amenities are offered in these communities?

GDS: Maplewood at East 93rd Street will provide area seniors an ultra-modern, luxury environment for a new kind of senior living care, with an architectural design focus on natural light and bringing nature into the building.

Handel Architects, our architectural firm, has designed the residence in concert with Maplewood, balancing street life and private experience, with the extensive use of natural light for mood, health, and wellness. We will have an wellness center with indoor pool, luxury salon and spa, theater, non-denominational spiritual center, open and display dining room with water features, pub and bistros, gardens and walking paths, sky parks and terraces, urban farming terrace, clubrooms, and much more.

APFM: What was Maplewood’s inspiration to start high-rise senior living?

GDS: Maplewood Senior Living is based in Southern Fairfield County, in Westport, Connecticut, just an hour’s drive to Manhattan. We have been looking for development opportunities in NYC for many years. Maplewood owns and operates 13 communities in three states, with many others in development in the tristate area, including Princeton, New Jersey and Southport, Connecticut. Many of our executive team members have operated in Manhattan throughout their careers.

We are a regional, Northeast-based provider of boutique-style, concierge style senior living services, providing independent living and assisted living to discerning residents. We are very much looking forward to entering the NYC market, offering a completely new kind of senior living to the Upper East Side of Manhattan: ultra-modern, concierge level services and unparalleled amenities.

APFM: Tell us a little about the multigenerational senior living involved in this model.

GDS: Maplewood at East 93rd Street will have many multi-generational programs, including developing a working relationship with the 92nd Street YMCA. We will also have visiting schools, different clubs and many opportunities for children to engage with residents. We will have a full time Engagement Director at Maplewood, who will act as the liaison between our own residence and outside community organizations.

It is an important part of the residents’ lives to become involved, and remain active, in social circles and organizations, museums, the theater, symphony, opera, clubs, educational opportunities such as universities and colleges, and more. We will foster that lifestyle.

APFM: What’s the challenge for high rise senior living vs. traditional senior living?

GDS: There can be operational challenges often times with service delivery in a vertical model, however, we have chosen to build from the ground up. With a ground up build, we expect our challenges to be minimized because we have the opportunity to utilize purposeful design as a planning tool. We are building additional elevators into the plans, more so than in a traditional building of its size. Mechanics will be delivered in a most effective manner (laundry, housekeeping, culinary, staffing, etc.). With a smaller number of units on each floor as compared to a larger, more traditionally built community with many more units on each floor, this new building will offer more intimate and personalized lifestyles for its residents.

Additionally, the memory care neighborhoods will be self-sufficient and efficient in terms of service delivery.

About Gregory D. Smith

Mr. Smith founded Maplewood Senior Living and has become a leading innovator in the senior housing industry. Prior to entering senior housing, Mr. Smith was a successful real estate investor in the hospitality, residential, and office sectors. His career spans 25 years and a collective value of investments has exceeded $800 million. As Chairman and CEO, he oversees all aspects of the Company and is actively involved in operations and growth.

A native of Massachusetts, Smith currently resides with his family in Fairfield County, Connecticut, where he remains active with civic and community-based organizations.

What is most important to you and your family when considering a senior living community? Do you think high-rise senior living is a good idea in urban cities? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Dana Larsen
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