For Sherlyn Scott, it's going to be hard to replace her north Scottsdale home with its views of the mountains and the city.
But the 74-year-old and her husband believe a new $200 million luxury retirement community planned at Princess Boulevard and Scottsdale Road just might make the cut.
The snowbirds from West Bloomfield, Mich., recently put down a deposit to live at the 410-unit high-end development Maravilla, which will include gourmet restaurants, spa, salon, clubhouse and other features.
"I think it's just a wonderful concept," Scott said.
Nationwide, senior citizens' communities have evolved in recent decades to offer a broad spectrum of services to residents.
And demand for luxury projects is rising as the population ages, said Katherine Hutton, Scottsdale's economic vitality department director.
"You're dealing with a generation that over time has amassed more wealth than any other generation before them," Hutton said.
More developers have been calling and showing interest in that market segment in recent years, she said.
Scheduled to open in early 2011, Maravilla will sit next to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort.
It will have a mixture of 350 independent living residences and 60 assisted living and memory care units.
The project is the fifth in Arizona for San Diego-based developer Senior Resource Group, which hopes to begin construction in spring 2009.
The company's other communities, which lie in Chandler, Ahwatukee Foothills, Green Valley and Tucson, offer independent living and assisted living options, Maravilla executive director Tim Cowen said. But for Maravilla, "we anticipate a very large, independent-living, younger, active population," Cowen said.
Scottsdale has 41,000 people who are 65 or older - roughly 17 percent of the city's population, according to city statistics. That number is projected to climb to about 46,000 by 2020.
An estimated 30 million Americans are senior citizens - a figure that is expected to more than double within the next 20 years, said David Schless, president of the American Seniors Housing Association.
The industry has drastically transformed since the 1980s with companies like Hyatt and Marriott offering luxury senior living, Schless said. Going forward, "the (baby) boomers will definitely have a profound impact on what senior housing looks like," he said.Schless estimates there are 17,000 senior citizen housing communities being operated by professional companies nationwide that serve roughly 2.1 million people. It's a competitive business, and consumers have a lot of options out there, he said.
At Maravilla, a monthly fee will include one daily meal, weekly housekeeping, all utilities except for phone, transportation and other services.
The initial entry cost will likely range from a little less than $300,000 to more than $800,000, Cowen said. And units will range in size from about 900 square feet to nearly 2,100 square feet.
The community will also have ongoing activities, something Sherlyn Scott looks forward to. She emphasized the indoor and outdoor pools.
"We are definitely water people. I use the pool every day," Scott said.
The fact the community isn't scheduled to open until 2011 doesn't bother her.
"For us, it would be the future," she said. "It gives us a few years to watch it evolve and develop."