Manny Gonzalez addresses GAHBA 50+ Housing Council, highlights similarities between both generations
On December 10, the Greater Atlanta HBA 50+ Housing Council invited Manny Gonzalez, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP and principal with KTGY Group Inc., Architecture + Planning in Santa Monica, Calif., to speak on ‘The Next Generation of Age Qualified Housing’ at the organization’s year-end gathering at the Cobb Galleria.
As Gonzalez noted from a true California perspective: “It took a creative new idea like ‘tow in surfing’ to catch the biggest waves. Similarly, creative new ideas will be the key to catching this big wave of seniors that is now coming our way.”
Gonzalez pointed out the many similarities that ‘Gen Aged’ shares with ‘Gen Y,’ also known as the Millennials. Gen Y is a major segment of today’s U.S. population, estimated to top 80 million people. Gen Y consists of people born in the mid-1980s who are often defined by these common traits: they are tech-savvy and family-centric, as well as achievement- and team-oriented.
According to Gonzalez, like Gen Y, seniors want amenities and a pedestrian/transit-oriented location. They want to live in vibrant urban communities close to services, education, entertainment and shopping. Both distinct market segments want to entertain, socialize and live comfortably in their surroundings. “Five bars are a must – connectivity is vital,” he said.
During his keynote speech, Gonzalez elucidated on the latest demographic and consumer preferences, and how it impacts builders and suppliers today. He noted that 50-plus homebuyers want a single-family detached home with good spatial relationships, possibly including a ‘domestic,’ ‘grandkids’ or ‘caregiver’ suite. Universal design concepts, energy efficiency and new finishes are also high on their wish list. “Also, remember beloved pets and grandchildren in the design and building of homes for the senior market,” he urged.
He noted that in senior communities, amenities like Wii Fitness and a mailroom are “so yesterday,” and suggested that Gen Aged likes ‘fitness on request,’ pickleball courts, a ‘laundro-mutt’ (to groom pets) and a ‘guys’ garage’ instead.
“Also, do remember that location and affordability are the two amenities homebuyers look for most often. Communities near a university, where you can take continuing education classes, or those close to walking and hiking trails, are very sought-after,” explained Gonzalez.