By Bill Cary, Cristiana Caruso, and Paul Adler
As Westchester’s population grows older, the nature of residential developments catering exclusively to seniors is changing. According to a 2019 report by the Center for an Urban Future, there are now more residents 65 and older in New York State than the entire populations of 21 other states. Twenty percent of Westchester residents are now past the age of 60. If you include younger seniors, 55 and older, that number is even higher.
While senior housing in the county was once limited to nursing homes and residential assisted-care facilities, the number of developments catering to younger, more active seniors seeking independent living and a luxury lifestyle is trending up. We took a closer look at five independent-living developments in Westchester, ranging from half a million dollars to $5 million, for active seniors seeking a high-end luxury lifestyle, with no need for assisted-care facilities.
Some properties solely boast impressive units and amenities, but at Christie Place in Scarsdale, the luxury even follows residents outside. “Christie Place is a luxurious, high-end building with beautiful apartments, but it’s also super well-located,” says Laura S. Miller, a licensed associate real estate broker at Houlihan Lawrence. “[Residents] are in downtown Scarsdale, with a grocery store directly across the street and a tons of places to grab a bite, get a croissant, or get some coffee. There is a nearby Starbucks, Dunkin’, and tons of restaurants and places to get food, so it’s really convenient for seniors, because if they don’t like to drive, they can walk everywhere.”
The downtown village convenience, however, is not where the options end. “And then of course you have access to the train within half a block, so people who want to be able to spend the day in the city, go to a museum, meet a friend, or even commute to work can do so very easily, with no car needed,” says Miller of the luxury complex built in 2008, which welcomes residents 55 and over. “There are walking trails right along the Bronx River Parkway, which are very popular for all residents of Scarsdale, but for people at Christie Place, they’re just around the corner.”
Miller also notes that as a resident of Scarsdale, tenants have access to Scarsdale’s four public pools, which also sport a snack bar and playground. “And there are public tennis courts in Scarsdale, all over town,” adds Miller. “You can buy a permit and use any of the public courts. In terms of amenities, there are a lot in Scarsdale.”
In terms of the building itself, the condominium — which is designed to match the Tudor buildings that distinguish Scarsdale village — certainly stacks up to the neighborhood’s many boons, according to Miller. “It feels like one large building, but really it’s two buildings connected by a patio courtyard,” she says. “In the middle, on the second level, is a communal patio, and you can go out from one building and into the other if you are a resident. Some units have their own private patios on that level. There are one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms with a den, which can also be used as a third bedroom.”
Of course, the rooms are well appointed, many with Viking appliances, granite countertops, walk-in closets, marble vanities, and a Jacuzzi. As for additional amenities, Miller adds that there is a gym filled with equipment, and residents may bring their own trainers to work out. The property also features a full-time, 24-hour concierge service in the lobby, and Chat, a ground-level restaurant that will deliver up to the building. “The concierge will bring groceries and food deliveries up, if needed, and there is a grocery cart available for residents,” says Miller.
Above all, residents enjoy Christie Place for its balance of comfort and camaraderie both within and without. “The people who live there are a very nice group,” says Miller. “Many are downsizers from Scarsdale or nearby communities, and some just want to be near their children who live locally. It’s a welcoming environment, and I think it’s just a nice place to live. It’s mix of people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and up, and it doesn’t feel like you are in senior housing. Most of these people are driving their own cars and are out and about. It’s a friendly community, and the people who live there are very comfortable.”
You have access to the train within half a block, so people who want to be able to spend the day in the city, go to a museum, meet a friend, or even commute to work can do so very easily, with no car needed.
Just off exit 19 on I-95 North, a picturesque hilltop opens to the St. Regis Residences, Rye. Arising from a legacy begun by Jacob John Astor in 1904 and spanning multiple continents, the world-class brand has come to the county in a unique way, bringing with it a twofold flair. First, the luxury condos represent the world’s first St. Regis property not to have a hotel attached; second, they are specifically designed for a community of people who are 55 and older.
“It’s an exciting endeavor,” says Denham Apperley, a member of the marketing team for the St. Regis Residences. “When you go to a St. Regis hotel, you know the level of quality to expect. Our residents are confident that they can expect that same standard of luxury and opulence but in a residential setting.”
After a long delay due to the pandemic, the long-anticipated Residences finally opened in July of 2021. The complex is spread over seven manicured acres of land, including a one-acre courtyard situated within a five-building campus. The Residences offer living spaces that range from one-to four-bedroom condos, totaling 92 units across the four main buildings and a small number of units in the amenities building. The units come with price tags as luxurious as their outdoor whirlwind spa, selling between $1 million and $5 million. At press time, the St. Regis Residences in Rye were completely sold out, with most of them having been purchased during the presale phase.
Developers did not pass up a single amenity in the units. Owners are privy to homes complete with 9-to-10-foot ceilings, gas fireplaces, stone and quartz countertops, and large double-hung casement windows. The bathrooms are equipped with Kohler fixtures and heated floors, making fuzzy slippers a thing of the past. The open-concept kitchen and dining space make entertaining guests a dream; all kitchens come standard with a wine refrigerator, Wolf oven and stove, Cove dishwasher, Sub-Zero refrigerator, and Bosch appliances. Storage will be an afterthought, with the units sporting walk-in closets, laundry closets, and in some cases, individual butler closets.
The elegance is manifest in every detail and flourish at the Residences. The interiors were designed by Forrest Perkins, a design studio of Perkins Eastman, a global architecture firm. The studio has made a name for itself in the planning and execution of five-star hotels, including the Omni La Costa in Carlsbad, California, and the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, DC.
While one can relish all of life’s essentials from their individual home, the amenities found throughout the posh complex are prodigious. Services include a 24-hour concierge, butler service, valet parking under the porte cochere, and a doorman.
Residents who step into the amenities building — complete with a nautilus-shaped grand staircase for the full effect — can indulge in 25,000 square feet of opulent services. They can take a lap in the 50-foot indoor swimming pool or break a sweat in the state-of-the-art fitness center and exercise studio. For prospective owners seeking the finer things, the Residences offer the Cognac Room, with billiard tables, spa treatment rooms, a 15-seat theater-style screening room, golf-simulator room, drawing room with a fireplace and bar, and the Great Hall, adorned with curated art pieces. Even the furry occupants have conveniences in store, as the complex also sports a pet spa.
“As long as one person over 55 years old is living in the unit, they’re following the rules,” says Apperley. But that doesn’t mean the age restriction is to be taken lightly. In order to keep the community comfortable for the age group they are marketing to, no resident may be under 18 years of age. For those guests anticipated in advance, there are two St. Regis-designed hotel-style suites available for use by those visiting residents of the complex.
Launched as a new luxury condo development for an active 55-and-older demographic in 2007 by the Cappelli Organization, Trump Park Residences in Shrub Oak now features 141 units that were built in stages that stretched all the way back to 2013. There is a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with most of the apartments set up with two bedrooms, a den, two full bathrooms, and one half-bath, according to general manager Michael Dedvukaj, who has been at the property since 2007.
The Trump Park apartments are arranged as three distinct villas in one four-story building. The units feature a rich array of high-end finishes, including hardwood floors, 9- and 11-foot ceilings, crown moldings, large windows, Juliette balconies, marble bathrooms, and kitchens with stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops. Some of the units even feature fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs.
The many amenities offered in the complex include a fitness center with yoga classes, indoor and outdoor pools with water aerobics classes, a walking track, direct access to the North County Trailway, indoor parking, a library and business center, a fresh-air HVAC system, nature trails through the 50-acre site, and a club room featuring a stone fireplace, marble flooring, card tables, billiards, and a small kitchen.
The well-placed property also offers proximity to the Taconic State Parkway, several restaurants, NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, the FDR state park, the Cortlandt Town Center, and the Metro-North commuter railroad stations at Goldens Bridge, Mount Kisco, and Croton-Harmon.
The property has a generator to provide full electrical service to all its units in power outages.
“I don’t know of any other condos in the area that offer everything that we have,” Dedvukaj says. “We are very well maintained and self-sufficient. We offer full concierge services, and we have handymen on-site to help residents with what they need.”
Recent improvements to the Trump Park complex include new lobby furniture, upgraded equipment in the two gyms, and a new 4K projector and an updated sound system in the theater room.
Another big plus: The residences are weather-proof. The property has a generator to provide full electrical service to all its units in power outages. “In some big storms, friends and family members of residents come over to take showers here,” Dedvukaj says.
The manager added that property residents, who are mostly younger seniors, in their late 50s or early 60s, also benefit from an active social committee that plans parties and gatherings every other month. Weekend football games in the theater room are popular gathering times, and many residents play card games and billiards. “Everybody gets to know their neighbors here,” says Dedvukaj.
Completed in two phases, from 2006 to 2009, the senior-living condominiums at Glassbury Court at Hunterbrook, which are just off Route 202 in Yorktown, were a huge hit right from the start.
“It sold very well,” says Jim Wendling, a vice president at Wilder Balter Partners, the Chappaqua-based firm behind the development. “As I recall, the homes sold between $550,000 and $885,000. Most people came from a 15-mile radius.”
In fact, the units were initially so popular that people came in groups to purchase them. “Interestingly, we had a pocket from Yonkers,” Wendling says. “There were five really good friends from the same area of Yonkers, and they bought adjacent units. There were a lot of friends and people who knew each other, and then they brought their friends in.”
Designed for active adults 55 and older, the development offers 64 semi-attached homes in 32 different buildings spread across the complex. The development features two floor plans, both with heated two-car garages and two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and one half-bath. The Kent model offers about 1,800 square feet, while the Essex has about 2,300 square feet with a finished-basement option. Some of the unit basements are walk-out, depending on the topography of their locations. All the two-story homes have ground-floor primary bedroom suites.
“They have a high level of finishes throughout,” Wendling notes. The luxury features include radiant-heat floors, granite kitchen countertops, oak flooring, and marble primary bathrooms. All of the homes in the Glassbury Court complex are New York State Energy Star-certified.
Amenities in the condo complex include a heated swimming pool, a lighted walking trail through the 44-acre property, a water feature with benches, and a 3,300-square-foot clubhouse that provides residents with a great room featuring a fireplace, fitness center, game room, billiard room, and a kitchen that can be used for catering, as well as cooking classes and demonstrations.
The condos also boast a convenient location for residents, offering proximity to the Jefferson Valley Shopping Mall, the Cortlandt Town Center, the Taconic State Parkway, NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, and several restaurants.
Active seniors will find the location to their liking. For bikers and hikers, there is the North County Trailway and the FDR State Park. For golfers, the Hollowbrook Golf Club and the Mohansic Golf Course are nearby. For commuters, there are Metro-North train stations in Goldens Bridge, Mount Kisco, and Peekskill.
According to Wendling, Glassbury Court residents represent a fairly young senior demographic, and some had multiple residences. “I would say the average was between 55 and 62,” he says. “About twenty percent of the buyers had homes in Florida, too, and they were going back and forth.”
Wendling says that the location was what really attracted the developers to the site. “It’s a beautiful, wooded area with old-growth trees, and it really feels private there,” he says. The complex shares a road with just a few single-family houses, and the immediate area has very little traffic.
“It was combination of the location, the design and the really beautiful layouts,” he says. “It demonstrated to us why people love these active communities — the sense of community, that sense of a neighborhood.”
Waterstone of Westchester — a new senior living community in White Plains — is likely to become one of the county’s standout properties for seniors. Scheduled at press time to have opened its doors in early March, Waterstone bills itself as a premier independent-living community for individuals aged 62 and up, featuring an impressive roster of amenities, as well as a range of services specifically aimed at seniors.
There is always someone to have dinner with; there’s always someone to do an activity with; there is always something to do.
“Waterstone is a unique, luxurious, independent-senior-living community,” says Laurence Gerber, president and CEO of EPOCH Senior Living, which operates 13 senior-living communities across the Northeast. “We have a range of benefits and services tailored to meet the needs of our senior citizen residents that really make their lives easier and more enjoyable. There is a restaurant operating in the building 24 hours a day; there are activities; and if residents don’t want to own a car anymore or aren’t comfortable driving, we have a chauffeured car service to take them.”
The property, located on White Plains’ Bloomingdale Road, opposite the longtime high-end department store, and comprising 132 residences, features some impressive additional perks and amenities. “Apartments are one bedroom, two bedroom, or a larger two bedroom with a den or penthouse, and are generous space-wise,” says Gerber. “There’s a fitness center, indoor pool, card room, a room for hobbyists and activities, a movie theater, a big community room for speakers and group activities, and even a hair salon in the building,” says Gerber, who adds that the building also features an on-site concierge.
In addition, Waterstone is working to ensure the health and well-being of its residents. “We are also partnering with Visiting Nurse Services in Westchester, and they will have an office in our building,” says Gerber. “People who need help maybe after a surgery or an illness — or just want to maintain their independence and need some assistance or home care — can get it. Most people will be able to live in that building for the rest of their lives.”
But for Gerber, the true attraction of Waterstone of Westchester lies in something much more important: community. “Many people say, ‘I want to live in the house where I raised my children,’ and they find themselves living in a 4,000-square-foot house, or bigger, and they have an aide helping who doesn’t have anything in common with them,” he notes. “They become socially isolated and often depressed. It’s a progression that happens over a number of years. When people move into our building, they suddenly have new friends, and there is always someone to have dinner with; there’s always someone to do an activity with; there is always something to do.”