St. Petersburg’s older residents will have a new senior living community to choose from come December.
American House St. Petersburg, at Ninth Avenue N and 66th Street, will open with 165 units, including independent living, assisted living and memory care services in a “country club style setting,” said Dale Watchowski, president and CEO of American House Senior Living Communities. American House and another developer on the project, Prevarian Senior Living, own dozens of properties across the country.
Located near St. Petersburg College’s Gibbs campus, the community has 66 independent living units, 66 assisted living units and 33 memory care units. Amenities include a bistro, laundry room, heated swimming pool, game lounge, library, spa, fitness and wellness center and shuffle board courts, Watchowski said.
Costs range from $2,900 to 4,570 for independent living units, $4,380 to 5,510 for assisted living units and $5,140 to 6,120 for memory care units, according to American House spokeswoman Alyse Wagner.
The company had been interested in moving into the St. Petersburg area for a while, Watchowski said, noting the company’s market research found that, in 2018, 11.7 percent of the population within a seven-mile radius was over 75.
In addition, the property is near the Cathedral of Saint Jude the Apostle. “And so the Catholic church played a large role in our decision to locate here,” Watchowski said.
Many of the company’s residents are active in faith-based organizations, he said.
The property also feeds into several residential areas, he said, offering residents of the new community a chance to live near family members.
Watchowski said he expects the new community to be at 50 percent occupancy for the December opening.
“And really, I’m happy to say that, it’s been proven out to be the right location, just given the strong demand,” he said.
American House has a good reputation, said Ann Marie Winter, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc. The agency put on programming at the company’s property in Zephyrhills before the coronavirus hit in March.
Seniors are looking for community settings where they can continue to live independently, but with activities and home-cooked meals available. But Pinellas County already has many options for assisted living, Winter said.
As of Oct. 6, there were 171 licensed assisted living facilities in the county, according to data provided by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
Winter said it will be interesting to see how the pandemic affects the new project.
“I have actually seen reports of seniors starting to question whether or not moving into community setting like that makes sense, given the propensity for COVID to spread in assisted living-type facilities,” she said.
Many seniors are trying to stay in their homes longer and avoid moving into assisted living or nursing homes, Winter added.
“I think that’s always been the case,” she said. “But I think the COVID has just increased that discussion about how do we continue to stay independent, live in our own homes, while still be a thriving member of the community.”