Active Adult – Leading the Way Post-COVID

Active Adult – Leading the Way Post-COVID

A somewhat new segment of rental active adult housing is showing signs of leading the way for senior living development post COVID.  Our estimating department is currently budgeting and pricing several active adult projects for multiple clients.  The product targets baby boomers in early retirement, looking to downsize, but who are years away from needing independent living or assisted living services.

Many seniors no longer want the maintenance and overhead of a large house, like the idea of increased socialization, but don’t require assistance with activities of daily living.  Active adult communities tend to command a premium over standard multi-family products, and because the residents are primarily retired, their incomes are somewhat insulated to swings in the job market and economy.  Another plus for developers, residents of active adult communities typically stay for five years or longer.

While the pandemic has impacted occupancy in all senior living sectors, several owners and operators...

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PVC Supply Chain Disruptions in 2021

While many of us in the construction industry have been focused on dealing with the steep rise in lumber costs over the past year, a new threat is upon us: PVC.  In February, Texas-based petrochemical plants were forced to shut down unexpectedly due to a winter storm that caused vast power outages. S&P Global reports that 75% of the 40 million metric tons of ethylene production were taken offline during the height of the deep freeze.  Bloomberg reports that 60% of the U.S. PVC capacity remains offline still.  According to the Wall Street Journal, prices for polyethylene and polypropylene have reached the highest prices in years.  The problem affects far more than the construction industry; reports of supply chain disruptions are coming out from industries like automotive, food and consumer packaging, medical device and supply production, and more.  Honda and Toyota have recently announced they will halt production...

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The Douglas Company is serving as the general contractor for the new $11.7 million Maumee Pointe assisted living and memory care

The Douglas Company is serving as the general contractor for a new $11.7 million assisted living and memory care project that recently began construction. Maumee Pointe assisted living and memory care will be located at 1050 Medical Center Pkwy, Maumee, Ohio. 

Designed by Davison Smith Certo Architects, Inc., Maumee Pointe will be a 69,310 square-foot assisted living and memory care community developed by Sage Real Estate Development of Rochester, New York. The new senior living community will consist of a single-story building including 22 memory care units for individuals with dementia-related conditions and a two-story assisted living building offering 58 one-bedroom suites for those needing assisted living services.

Amenities at Maumee Pointe will include an arts and crafts area, spa, chapel, bistro and dining area, wellness center, sunroom, and lounges. The exterior layout consists of two courtyards, a fire pit, and a greenhouse. Davison Smith Certo Architects, Inc....

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The Goose and The Golden Egg of Business

This past weekend I was listening to a presentation on a book many of you have heard and read, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey; I was drawn towards a reference to an old fable by Aesop, The Goose & The Golden Egg.

The story goes like this for those who aren't familiar: A poor farmer discovers that his prized goose has begun to lay golden eggs each day. Excitedly, the farmer takes the eggs to the market and begins to get rich. With his newfound success, the farmer starts growing impatient by only receiving one egg a day from his goose and isn't getting rich fast enough. One day after counting his money, he realizes that he could get all the golden eggs at once if he kills the goose and cuts...

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Construction is underway on The Sagefield multi-family residential development in Jacksonville, Florida

The Douglas Company, an industry-leading general contractor, announces that construction is underway on The Sagefield, a new multi-family residential development in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Developer, Chance Partners, LLC, selected architectural firm Dynamik Design Partners, an Atlanta, Georgia-based company, to design the 274,590 square-foot multi-family community. The Sagefield will include 234 one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units in two 4-story apartment buildings and two 2-story carriage homes with tuck-under garages.  The architecture will feature a contemporary farmhouse design, with gabled rooflines, vertical siding, and a dark red, charcoal, and white color scheme. Apartments will feature stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, smart home technology, sleek wood-like flooring, 10-foot ceilings, and upscale finishes.                         

Generous community amenities will include a clubhouse, co-working space, a 24-hour fitness center, e-scooter and bike share, a resort-style pool, an outdoor kitchen and fire pit, a pet spa, and a Starbucks® coffee bar. The landscaping surrounding the community will complete the...

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The Big Three in Building Costs

We always advocate for getting a contractor involved early in your project to help with constructability input, provide conceptual budget estimates and other milestone pricing feedback, and control costs as the design develops.  There are also three key areas that your development team needs to make decisions that significantly impact project costs. 

One of the big three is structure type.  Multiple factors will go into your decision to go with a wood structure, block, plank, block structure with wood floor trusses, steel framing, or a hybrid.  Some of these factors are building code for your particular project, your project's location, which will affect wind load requirements, maintenance of the building in the future, long or short-term hold strategy, etc. 

The second of the big three is the mechanical system you choose.  There are many factors to consider, such as cost, future maintenance costs, what your target client may prefer, the system's life...

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Virtual Inspections

COVID-19 has brought forth many challenges in the last year, and it has pushed our slowly evolving industry into adopting many new ways of conducting business, one of which being virtual inspections from our local inspecting authorities. Many of the counties that we work with have put in place some stringent requirements as it relates to social distancing and minimizing exposure to their staff on the job site. With the advancements in technology, many counties have moved to conducting virtual inspections through Facetime or a similar video call in an effort to keep the workflow moving while accommodating their new standards for employee safety. We have found that our inspections have been rather unimpeded going through this new process while it has required some additional record keeping from ourselves and our subcontractors, it has provided some efficiencies for our inspector’s where they are able...

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Generational Differences

Eleven of us (with me being by far the oldest) are taking Darren Hardy’s new leadership course, which will take all year.  The first session talked about the differences between generations.  None of it was disparaging.  We were all raised with different circumstances, so we are different.   I remember coming into the industry over 40 years ago (!!!) and hearing the older men talking about how the younger generation had changed and wasn’t worth much.  And I have heard similar things from my peers about the next generation.

But as I look at our company, I can reflect on how we have changed generationally.  My peers in the company are mostly gone for various reasons.  Burnout, death, or just losing the will to fight for our clients every day.  And the next generation has mostly taken over, with amazing results.  We had our second-best year last year.  And I’m...

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Expect Material Price Increases to Continue in Early 2021

Last week we authored a blog post looking back on pricing in 2020 and why the reduced pricing many of us were anticipating to come just never did. The question lingering for everyone in the industry now is:  What's going to happen in 2021 for pricing? Many developments were put on hold last year in hopes of better pricing this year, but will that happen? To forecast this, we're looking at the state of 3 current events: The COVID-19 Vaccine, Material Supply and Demand, and Government Intervention.

COVID-19 Vaccine

While we cannot be a source of information on the status and timing of individuals being vaccinated, we know that at some point this year, all those who want to receive immunity from the vaccine will have that opportunity. Market information sources like NIC and Senior Care Investor all agree the outlook for senior housing is positive, and the decreases in censuses...

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What Happened to the COVID Discount?

“Earlier this year, our President, Peter Douglas, posted a Blog pondering the question of how much construction prices would go down as a result of the impacts of COVID on our industry.  At the time of the Blog (May 27, 2020), we were beginning to witness the relaxation of construction material prices, particularly lumber and subcontractors cutting their prices to book work for the unknown times that lie ahead.  It was thought that this trend would continue during the pandemic and that overall construction prices could retreat 3-5%, a welcomed projection for many developers.  Unfortunately, prices have not gone down the 3-5% as originally speculated.  So what happened?

In the months following the posting of that blog, prices for construction materials and manufactured commercial building products increased due to the impact COVID had on production and transportation, compounded by demand, which remained relatively high throughout the pandemic.  An unexpected rise in...

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The Douglas Cares Program: Gives Back to Local Families During the Holidays

The Douglas Company’s Adopt-a-Family Gift Drive makes the holidays brighter for area families unable to buy essentials and gifts this holiday season. The holidays can be a challenging time of year for families and children who have been struggling.

The Douglas Company and their associates are doing their part to change this for some families in partnership with Family House to make a difference in the community by “adopting” local families for the holiday season and providing them with gifts and meals.

"We are overjoyed to be able to support the local community in this way," said Nikki Depner, Marketing Coordinator of The Douglas Company. “Our associates came together to make this a very special holiday for several local families who needed our help. Giving back to our local community has always been a priority of The Douglas Cares Program, and it is a pleasure to extend the holiday spirit to...

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Getting the Right Team in Place

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, some new projects struggle to secure the necessary capital stack to move forward.  This has been more of an issue in the senior living segment than the multi-family segment; the multi-family space has remained resilient during this challenging year in regards to financial backing for new construction.  In speaking with our friends in the debt and equity circles, the money to fund new ground-up senior living projects is getting much more selective, but I am still being told “the good deals/projects find a way to get done,” that is positive to hear.

In this environment, now more than ever, developers need to have the best teams possible in place to support a successful project.  This of course, includes their general contractor, architect, and operator.  Debt and equity sources need to feel confident that the project has the best possible chance of success. The whole...

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The Douglas Company Announces New Director of Preconstruction Services

The Douglas Company, General Contractor, is pleased to announce the promotion of Bruce Douglas, PMP, PMI-SP, LEED AP BD+C to Director of Preconstruction Services. In this new role, Bruce will lead the Estimating and Business Development teams, initiating client engagement early in the project development process and setting projects on a path for success by providing expertise on cost, schedule, logistics, constructability, and other key factors. Bruce will be responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the Preconstruction & Business Development teams ensuring a collaborative approach to leading projects through the design phase.

Mr. Douglas began his career with The Douglas Company in 2011 as a Project Coordinator, progressing to Assistant Project Manager, then Project Manager, and was then promoted to Senior Project Manager, and has since earned the position of Director of Preconstruction Services.

“It is an honor to be able to work with our deeply-valued clients in support of their incredibly...

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Material Procurement Challenges

As we continue to navigate through the daily challenges surrounding us with the COVID-19 virus, it is important to understand the impacts it is having on our industry. Most notably there has been volatility with pricing, most well-known with the lumber markets, labor shortages, and extended material procurement. The material procurement issue much like the labor shortages is not a new issue upon us in the construction industry, but lead times have certainly changed from previously known and reliable durations during this pandemic. Some examples of extended material procurement issues that we are experiencing across our projects include:

  • Lumber
  • Siding
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Shingles
  • PVC pipe and pre-molded showers

This is something that will most likely continue until a vaccination is developed, as manufacturers work through social distancing, sanitizing efforts, and infected personnel which all have an impact on productivity and their ability to fill orders timely. It’s important to stay in close contact with Subcontractors and Suppliers...

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What’s Actually Going On with Construction Prices?

It is the question everyone is asking in the construction industry right now, “What’s happening with prices, and when will it come back down?” The short answer is, no one can say for certain.

What we do know are a few key principles that can help all of us be more discerning consumers of current information:

  1. Commodity Prices do not Equal Actual Costs - Many people have taken to following publicly-traded commodity indexes to understand where things are going. While this can give us some insight; many things affect the commodity indexes besides just the actual cost of the materials. For material markets that have been hit extremely hard, turning to trusted suppliers is the only way to know where prices are and what is to come. 
  2. Supply Trumps Demand - In certain markets, such as lumber and PVC, an extreme shortage in supply is driving the price and...

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The Douglas Company announces construction is underway on the new Eastern Woods Senior affordable housing apartment community in Findlay, Ohio

The Douglas Company, an award-winning Toledo, Ohio based general contractor, announces that construction is underway on the new Eastern Woods Senior apartment community,  designed to offer affordable housing to the growing senior population in and around the Findlay, Ohio area. Pennrose Properties, LLC of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is partnering with Blanchard Valley Health System on the new development, scheduled to open in late summer 2021.

Designed by architectural firm Moody Nolan, Inc., a Columbus, Ohio based company, the development will consist of 50 senior apartment units in one three-story building, with a total square footage of 49,677. Amenities include elevator service, resident storage, fitness center, on-site management office suite, community gathering space, outdoor patio, and ample on-site parking all within the peaceful, walkable, amenity-rich Eastern Woods mixed-use campus.

"We are very excited to get started on this project, these apartments will be a much-needed community resource that will help meet...

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Fighting COVID-19 with Bi-Polar Ionization

As we continue to learn, adapt, and move forward during a global pandemic, we understand that poorly ventilated buildings are a significant risk factor in the transmission of COVID-19.  Operators and developers who are planning new senior living communities will want to consider air cleaning technology as an option for creating and maintaining cleaner indoor environments that reduce the spread of disease.

Bipolar ionization systems have been tested and found to reduce the levels of various types of airborne contaminants with a MERV equivalent of 13 without the pressure increase of MERV 13 mechanical filters.  During the cleaning process, ions attach to airborne particles like dust, dander, and pollen, subsequently increasing their mass and size. This allows the air filtration system to easily capture the larger particles, increasing the capture efficiency of the HVAC system.

In addition to health benefits, this technology can save building owners 30% on conditioning costs because it...

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What’s the New Standard in Senior Living Communities?

It’s hard to believe that it was in May that I blogged about being ready to “turn the corner” on everything that was impacting the country.  I guess I was a little impatient.  In the meantime, it is as we predicted that there would be some creative times ahead in the design and construction of senior living communities. 

We have spoken with a lot of our colleagues in the senior living operations and design community in the last couple of months to learn about what they want to implement into their future projects to increase health and safety when a contagious health crisis such as Covid-19 hits.  At the top of the list is upgraded HVAC systems to better filter airborne pathogens as well as increase fresh air circulation.  A close second is UV technology to kill microbial particles (both incorporated into HVAC systems as well as other equipment options for...

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