Manny Gonzalez – What Boomers are Looking for in 2015: Part 1 of 3


March 20, 2015

By Manny Gonzalez, AIA, LEED AP and principal, and the senior partner with KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture + Planning in Los Angeles with other offices in Irvine, Oakland, Denver, Tysons and Pune. He can be reached at (310) 394-2623 or

To learn more, join us at the Design conference track at PCBC on Thursday, 6/25, 2015 at 11:00 am and hear Manny Gonzalez present in the session, “Age Qualified Communities – Reimagined”


There are some interesting lifestyle trends that are emerging for me and 87,999,999 other Baby Boomers.

Mixed-age Communities. The Gavilan Community in Rancho Mission Viejo, California showed how successfully you could integrate several age-qualified gated neighborhoods into an all-ages Master Plan. Having the best of both worlds, your own exclusive neighborhood and amenities along with access to all the other amenities of Rancho Mission Viejo, proved to be hugely popular with the active adult buyer. That concept is being taken to the next level at the Victory District of Verrado in Buckeye, Arizona. The soon to open community will feature state-of-the-art amenities and services for the 55+ residents while offering them all that Verrado currently has in its well-established Neo-traditional Master Plan. There will always be people wanting to live in a traditional retirement community, but new communities like Gavilan and Victory are showing that there are many more who want the benefits of a 55+ lifestyle within an all-age development.

Universal Design. In addition to the pioneering community concept that is the Victory District, the four active adult neighborhoods there will finally embrace Universal Design in a way most production builders never have. The developer DMB chose to select four builders who had not been in the Active Adult space before, so there was no corporate baggage of doing the same old plans that they had been doing for years. Instead these four builders understood that doing Universal Design the right way would differentiate them from the builders of the past and this trend will continue as buyers discover that homes like those at Victory meet their needs today and will allow them to live in that home well into the future.

Single-Level Living. The ranch house has appealed to the active adult homeowner for years, but the cost of land has driven builders to push densities requiring three-story single-family homes and ultimately three-story townhomes to get deals to pencil out. Communities like Skylar at Playa Vista in Los Angeles prove what can happen when you turn that three-story townhome on its side and create three stacked ranch houses instead. With a semi-private elevator serving the homes, the single-level living appealed to the Boomer buyer so much that nearly 70% of the buyers in first two phases were over 55 years of age. The sales success that KB Home enjoyed has also attracted the attention of their competitors who are taking similar concepts to other markets.