The Glen at Scripps Ranch – Behind A Rare CCRC Build In San Diego

February 2, 2018

SAN DIEGO—Continuing-care retirement communities are very challenging to develop because of the pre-sell requirements and entitlement challenges, Continuing Life’s managing partner Warren Spieker tells The company will be providing business and advisory services for the Glen at Scripps Ranch, the first CCRC to be built in San Diego in nearly 10 years.

Continuing Life tells the developer for the project is Spieker Senior Development Services, which has formed the Glen at Scripps Ranch CCRC LLC to build and own the community. As we recently reported, the project, which is being built on a 53-acre site next to the Alliant International University campus at 10718 Pomerado Rd. near I-15, recently broke ground after being in planning and approval stages since 2010. It will offer independent-living apartment-style homes and villas (single-family homes with attached garages). Building construction of the community’s independent living homes, clubhouse and recreational areas is expected to begin in a few weeks, with a grand opening set for late 2019.

Designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning, the community will feature a complete package of services, activities, amenities and food service, as well as an adjacent health center providing assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. We sat down with Spieker for a chat about the CCRC development scenario in San Diego and what makes this one so special. Why have so few CCRCs been built in San Diego in recent years?

Spieker: CCRCs like the Glen are very challenging to develop. Regulatory requirements are significant. For example, a community must pre-sell 50 percent of the units (with a 10% deposit) in order to gain permission to begin construction from the Department of Social Services. This means an owner must begin spending significant amounts of money to market a project before they know whether the project will even be approved. Coupled with the typical entitlement challenges of building a project in California, it can take several years to bring a project to market even in the strongest of economic times. The financial recession only magnified the challenges. We entered escrow in 2010 and the project is not expected to open until the end of 2019. Most people don’t have the patience, resources or risk tolerance to do this, which is why there are only 100 CCRCs in the state of California and very few new communities have been built in the last 20 years. Why is this one so special?

Spieker: As I mentioned, there are simply not that many CCRCs in the state, so it’s a rare opportunity to get to move into a brand new one. The Glen will be the newest community to open in San Diego in more than 15 years.

The community will offer more than 15 unique floor plans, including single-story villas and apartment homes. On-site amenities include a clubhouse with a variety of dining options ranging from sit-down restaurant dining to a “grab and go” deli counter. Other amenities include a library and game rooms, indoor swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, fitness center and spa, auditorium for live performances and presentations, movie theatre, tech and business center, arts-and-crafts studio, short-game golf course, dog parks and tennis and pickleball courts. The maintenance-free lifestyle will include services such as landscape maintenance, housekeeping, scheduled transportation and more. One of the most compelling advantages is a new full-service health center that will be adjacent to the community. There, residents will have access to assisted living, memory care and a skilled nursing center, if they ever need it.

CCRCs can provide varying benefits, but it’s not common that you get both the long-term care benefit and a high repayment of your entrance fee, which the Glen offers. What do residents and investors look for in CCRCs?

Spieker: People today want a great place to live, but they also want a comprehensive plan for the future. They want a mix of the right amenities and services, and then they don’t want to have to move out to another community as they get older. Studies show that residents who move to CCRCs live longer—and better—because of the social, intellectual and physical activity that they can’t get in their home.

The majority of the industry is operated by nonprofit providers who presumably are focused on their mission. Not too dissimilarly, we have a saying that “we can do well by doing good.” While it takes a lot of capital and patience, we get to provide a valued service, and we are ultimately rewarded for it. How will the demand for this type of project change as Baby Boomers in this area continue to enter their senior years?

Spieker: It would be presumptuous to try to predict what the Baby Boomers will do since they have wielded significant influence through every phase of their lives. While the substantial numbers are clearly beneficial, as an industry we must keep the product relevant so the Boomers want to move into our communities. Our goal is to develop hig- quality CCRCs that provide an extensive level of care for all residents, but finding land to meet the anticipated demand is a tall order.