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Developer eyes area for senior homes

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  • | 11:00 p.m. December 22, 2014
  • Longboat Key
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A Vero Beach-based developer of luxury senior living communities sees the Bay Isles area where a town center could be completed as a place of opportunity.

Real estate broker Joe Daniels, director of Integra Realty Resources in Tampa, represents Watercrest Senior Living Group and said at a town center workshop Dec. 18, that the area would be a good fit for an active senior community.

Daniels told the Longboat Observer after the workshop that he first met with Town Manager Dave Bullock to discuss the possibility of building a community a year ago. Although discussions at first focused on the 2.8-acre property that the town has since purchased from Longboat Key resident Joe Wolfer, Daniels said his client is open to any location within the town center area.

Watercrest has not purchased property in the area but wants to be part of a future town center concept, Daniels said.

“We see the demographics, and we see the need,” he said. “I think a lot of people would like to continue living on Longboat, but maybe they don’t want to continue driving or they don’t have the desire to maintain a 2,500-square-foot house.”

The community Watercrest is considering would offer resort-style living and offer services such as aquatherapy and physician space, plus features such as upscale dining and a theater, Daniels said.
The company has not determined how many units it would build, but Daniels estimates it would be no more than 100.

Watercrest operates Lake Nona, in Orlando, and Watercrest of San Jose, in Jacksonville, according to its website, It lists amenities and activities such as wine tasting, a spa pool and fitness center and salon services for those communities.

“It’s not just an old folks’ home,” Daniels said of the community it seeks to build.

Evan Johnson, project manager of Tindale-Oliver & Associates, which the town hired to complete concepts for the town center, presented at the workshop.

Johnson said that although the focus will be on commercial uses for the town center, residential uses will be part of the conversation.

Land in the area is too valuable for single-family homes, but opportunities for senior housing or assisted living remains an unmet need on the Key, according to Johnson.

At the workshop, the town center area was discussed as a good location for such housing because of its walking-distance proximity to Longboat Key Publix, the Longboat Library and other amenities.

Longboat Key Commissioner Pat Zunz expressed support for senior residences at the workshop.

“People who want to give up driving in a car would have something right there, so I would hope that it could someday be looked at,” Zunz said.