As Moorings Park Communities celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020, it’s also looking ahead to the future. Its third campus, Grande Lake, has already opened its first phase, with the next phase scheduled for completion in 2021.
“Naples has a unique collection of people who come here,” says Dan Lavender, CEO of Moorings Park Communities. “We get the best of citizens, and they get to the point where they want to stay in the community but have additional need for services. Our history has always been about executing our mission to meet those needs, and Grande Lake was just another opportunity to expand our mission focusing on successful aging.”
More than 60 of the 86 available residential units have been sold, with 47 units already occupied in three completed independent-living buildings. About 25% of the units remain available for purchase, with entrance fees starting at $1.5 million. Coming in 2021: two more residential buildings plus a clubhouse.
Suffolk Construction is the general contractor, and London Bay Development Group is developing the project on 55 acres of land it owns at the southeast corner of Airport-Pulling Road and Golden Gate Parkway in Naples. When London Bay decided that senior living was the right choice for the site, Moorings Park proved a good partner due to similarities in philosophy and clientele.
“Moorings Park is the leader in the luxury segment of the life-plan industry, certainly, in Naples and Southwest Florida,” says Mark Wilson, London Bay president and CEO. “In terms of their reputation and how they operate, they’re the gold standard. And we said, ‘If we’re going to team up with someone, let’s team up with the gold standard.’”
Two-bedroom-plus-den and three-bedroom-plus-den residences include high-end finishes and upgraded features, open-concept floor plans and expansive lanais overlooking a 25-acre lake. Penthouse homes are also available. Buyers can choose from a large selection of design options and get input from London Bay’s expert team, which has been building luxury homes in the Naples area for 30 years.
“I think we’re doing something totally different that has not been done anywhere in terms of the level of luxury,” says Wilson. “I don’t think there is anywhere in the United States that compares to what we’re doing at Moorings Park Grande Lake. When you drive into the community, it will not feel like a senior living community. It will feel more like the arrival sequence at a ve-star resort.”
Amenities will include a re- sort-style pool with cabanas, a state-of-the-art fitness center with golf simulator, yoga pavilion and an array of dining options. Concierge physician services are also included with residency.
“The focus we have on successful aging is really unparalleled and unmatched in the area,” says Lavender. “We have three physicians at Moorings Park Communities full-time; this is the only place they work. And we have fine dining that I think would make anyone running a Fifth Avenue restaurant proud.”
Moorings Park Communities has more than 1,000 residents and more than 900 employees at its three Naples locations, which also include the original 83-acre Moorings Park campus o Goodlette-Frank Road and Moorings Park at Grey Oaks near the Grande Lake development. The new $549 million project will create almost 200 full-time equivalent positions.
“Those will be good long-term jobs for the community, led by people who will go to restaurants and retail spots and have a quality life here in the area,” says Lavender. “It’s a combination of serving the residents who will live there and creating opportunities for people to work in the great eld of senior living.”
Moorings Park consistently stands out in that eld, receiving strong A/ A+ financial ratings from both Fitch and S&P. “We make a commitment to people for the entire rest of their lives here,” says Lavender. “We have to be good financial stewards and make sure we’re managing our money so we can deliver that care.”
To that end, Moorings Park takes a conservative approach to development projects. So, while there is potential for additional phases at Grande Lake, Moorings Park is waiting to see how these initial phases play out.
But no matter what comes down the road, Moorings Park has already made a significant impact on the area. “Moorings Park is very important for the future of our community because they have such a first-class reputation,” says Penny Taylor, who represents District 4 on the Collier County Board of County Commissioners. “And because we are a community where folks come to retire, they enhance our brand, in a very direct way of saying it. They bring such a style of living to those who are aging in place, and with the expansion, they’re just going to continue that legacy of community and graceful living.”
‘People Just Feel Safe With Us’
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down sales a bit at Grande Lake, but things have started picking back up. Safety remains of utmost importance throughout Moorings Park’s three campuses to protect its vulnerable population. “We even went as far as calling moving companies, and if they could not meet our protocol standards, we asked the residents [moving into Grande Lake] to get different movers,” says Lavender.
And while extra measures have been taken across the board, Moorings Park was already well prepared to adjust to the new reality.
“I think a lot of the things we already did have served us very well in this crisis, like our ability to have three physicians here full time to advise and counsel us,” says Lavender. “Plus, things were designed with multiple buildings that are spread out, so that people are able to get their own space and walk around and enjoy nature. It’s all served us very well. People just feel safe with us.”