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Paving the Way for Senior Housing in Tysons

As baby boomers continue to age, the senior population (those above 65 years of age) is increasing at a rapid rate. Given this shift in demographics and as baby boomers look to downsize, the demand for senior housing is at an all-time high with many looking for senior housing communities focused on active and engaging lifestyles. As Tysons continues its steadfast efforts to grow and thrive as an urban epicenter where all ages can live, work and play, developing and innovating senior housing is a priority. Tysons is an optimal location for future senior housing developments due to its location at the gateway to the nation’s capital and because of its expansive amenities in the retail and entertainment arenas. The Mather, a new “life plan” community and Silverstone Senior Living complexes in Tysons each provide the lifestyle active seniors are looking for. Mary Leary, President and CEO of The Mather stated, “We are excited about our plan to build a forward-thinking Life Plan Community in Tysons and are thrilled by the interest from leading-edge boomers. Future residents are engaged in their local communities and want to stay connected. They are looking for an urban, walkable lifestyle in a location they love, with culture, sports, arts, and entertainment options that are easily accessible.”

These two unique senior housing developments in Tysons are well underway and illustrate a modern take on senior housing and why Tysons is an ideal location for each development.

The Mather

The Mather, a $450 million-plus Life Plan Community, will consist of two high-rise buildings, one 27 stories and the other 18 with the first phase of the development scheduled to open in 2023. Its design includes two buildings connected at the third-floor level with a combined total of 300 independent living apartments. The Mather Life Centre will consist of assisted living apartments, memory support suites, and skilled nursing suites.

The Mather markets itself as providing opportunity for those 62 or older to better protect their lifestyle, their assets, and their peace of mind. The Mather is working to change the conversation around aging to one of “aging well” and is encouraging people who are proactive planners to recognize that even in uncertain times, there is value in making a plan for the future. The Mather provides what is self-described as “an elegant option.”

Throughout the pandemic, The Mather has continued to make steady progress in leasing, ending 2020 at over 75% pre-sold of Phase 1 – a goal reached ahead of schedule. Further, priority reservations are currently being accepted for Phase 2 of The Mather, with more than 150 reservations in hand. Kristina Pare, Director of Sales at The Mather said, “we’re hearing that people are starved for a sense of community and being engaged with others, and they see that The Mather is this opportunity.”  These solid metrics are a true testament to the need for distinctive senior housing in Tysons.

The Mather’s non-profit parent company, Mather (celebrating its 80thanniversary this year) selected to build in Tysons because it sought an urban, infill development, creating an opportunity for clientele to maintain an engaged, purposeful, sophisticated, lifestyle with easy access to Washington, DC. Moreover, The Mather found that the Tysons’ transformation, with its commitment to creating a ‘live, work, play’ community, really spoke to the needs and desires of leading-edge boomers. The Mather saw that with easy access to grocery stores, airports, culture, restaurants, shopping, etc., Tysons was the perfect location to develop its Life Plan Community. In support of the location, a future resident at The Mather, Lynn Pivik, who currently resides in Bethesda, MD, commented, “the location is great, and it’s an area I feel comfortable in, where I’ll be closer to my daughter. I like that The Mather will be brand new! It’s appealing to have all those choices, the size of the units, some of the interior finishes — like a heated bathroom floor.”

As COVID-19 will surely impact future development details, The Mather is already incorporating new design elements:

  • Enhanced HVAC systems with in-duct germicidal ultraviolet (UV) treatments. That is, 100% of return air will be exhausted to the exterior of the building and none will be recirculated internally, while special lamps in the air ducts will kill airborne microbes. Negative pressurization capability will also be in place.
  • Doors, faucets, and other elements within the community which will incorporate touch-free design. This includes elevators having alternative methods for call and control such as with the use of an app or foot pedal.
  • Motion-activated doors and touch free plumbing fixtures in staff and amenity restrooms and kitchens are being incorporated; and in lieu of hand dryers, freshly laundered hand towels and/or motion activated paper towel dispensers will be provided.

While the pandemic has been a challenging time for many organizations in preparing for the future, Mary Leary ruminated on her own professional experience by saying, “I think that we were able to be a bit ahead of the curve because we were already looking at next generation design for The Mather in Tysons.”

Silverstone Senior Living

Silverstone Senior Living “SSL” is another senior housing project coming to Tysons and is currently in pre-development. SSL has filed an FDP application with Fairfax County and is well into the approval process.

SSL typically locates in communities in vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods, such as The Boro (located in Tysons), that offer residents and community associates welcoming, walkable environments with a range of housing options, articulate streetscapes, open spaces, access to multiple modes of transportation and close proximity to shopping, restaurants and entertainment – everything Tysons offers. Additionally, SSL ensures that its communities are located in a desirable destination allowing residents to remain in their community with familiar surroundings. “We chose to develop our next community at The Boro so our residents can enjoy its vibrancy and energy along with unparalleled convenience,” said Bobby Zeiller, chief development officer for Silverstone. “We look forward to delivering high-caliber senior living with flexibility and innovative, attentive. and responsive care to Tysons and the surrounding areas of McLean, Falls Church, and Vienna.”

Beyond its Tysons location, SSL has three communities currently under construction in the D.C. metropolitan area:

  • The Providence, located in the emerging MetroWest neighborhood in Fairfax, Virginia. (Opening early 2021)
  • The Seneca, situated next to the celebrated King Farm neighborhood in Rockville, Maryland. (Opening summer 2021)
  • The Landing, part of National Landing’s dynamic Potomac Yard neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia. (Opening early 2022)

Similar to The Mather, and even before COVID-19, SSL was forward thinking with its design strategy. SSL is implementing new resident safety measures and design features in the event of a “shelter in place” situation. Also, using the “small house” notion, SSL purposefully designed floors and common areas that can be broken down into two or three neighborhoods or subsections. The small house notion allows more intimate access to dining, amenities and programming in an otherwise larger community. The design feature also allows more specific zoned air filtration systems which enhances the management of air quality and circulation within a large community. A community like the Tysons property that has multiple stories and 200 units can be broken down into smaller neighborhoods on individual floors, allowing residents in a particular section to continue to have access to dining and amenities but be separated from others, effectively reducing the risk of spread within a community. Also, Silverstone utilizes HVAC systems that rely mainly on fresh, outdoor air.

Silverstone uses enhanced filtration and other air treatment systems such as ultraviolet light in the duct work. This system eliminates the majority of particulate matter that may be harmful, including the pathogens associated with COVID-19. Silverstone has most recently deployed handheld infrared devices that can treat packages, mail, and other delivered supplies as well and treat high-touch surface areas such as elevators, bathroom faucets, tables, and chairs by scanning the surfaces, thereby killing viruses. To allow for safe visitation, Silverstone has incorporated visitation rooms that allow family and friends to visit residents in a socially distant and safely separated environment. The company is also embracing a higher level of touch-less technology for doors, elevators, and faucets. Recognizing the stress of the pandemic on staff, the company has created enhanced areas for caregivers to change clothes, shower, unwind and decompress in a safe and comfortable space at work.

While the demand will continue to increase for senior housing, its future is certainly bright in Tysons—these two communities will be innovative, active, and vibrant and are paving the way for future senior housing developments in Tysons.