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Sharon Towers

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Sharon Towers is a Life-Plan community founded in the late 1960s, home to its residents on a secluded 28 acre campus in the heart of SouthPark in Charlotte – an area that has seen many changes in the last 50 years. Sharon Towers is also changing, expanding and enhancing its campus to remain a fixture as the surrounding area experiences continued growth.

Shook Kelley led Sharon Towers through a strategic process as they sought to address the same generational issues many CCRCs face, whereby what many older adults – especially the rising tide of Baby Boomers as they begin to make themselves known within the CCRC world – are looking for in a different senior living experience. They are active and want to be engaged in the community. To meet these desires, Sharon Towers realized it needed to evolve from the traditional approaches to senior living. Many seek an environment to age in place, but it is natural to fall into sedentary habits that lead to decline with an increasing dependency on family members even when/if receiving basic services. A focus on vitality and well-being is attractive to those who prefer to be more active and retain a connected lifestyle. A strategic framework was developed to enable Sharon Towers to fulfill its vision of community that inspires and supports one's best self, partnering with its residents to improve quality of life rather than simply to provide care and a place to live.

SouthPark has grown in a way that has Sharon Towers situated in an advantageous position – close proximity to everything residents need yet still private, hidden behind thick tree cover. Residents can walk to places one normally thinks of as being a car ride away – abundant dining and shopping options, and medical facilities. Shook Kelley envisioned the design as a true village of residential, retail, health and wellness, office, and community uses that connect to the existing campus and to the residential and commercial properties around it. The result is one that seeks to step away from the institutional nature of typical senior-oriented facilities toward something closer to hospitality design. Concerns over security and isolation are balanced with buildings that are human-scaled and more residential in feel. This approach is meant to appeal to the empty-nesters of south Charlotte who typically are moving from much larger suburban single family homes. It adopts the attitude of welcoming and warmth that feels familiar, but offers a much more dense, accessible, urban facility that serves an almost civic role as a common denominator, bringing diverse groups of people together – an innovative and unique approach to what senior-oriented living feels like. In short, it seeks to present the modern CCRC as a seamless natural extension of previous home life with obvious added benefits specific to an aging population. By integrating the components into an identifiable and coherent whole, the design encourages an engaged, communal way of life to residents and neighbors alike. It also helps to transform the culture of the more conventional CCRC from the compartmentalized approach into one of shared, flexible offerings with broad appeal.

Shook Kelley is engaged in design services focused upon the planned upgrading and phased expansion of the SouthPark campus to take advantage of these new strategic opportunities and bring this approach to a waiting market. Phase one of the design, recently completed, involved 18 new independent living units, the Magnolia Villas. Currently under construction is the multi-story, 46-unit independent living building, The Deerwood. Future phases include a 38,000sf well-being facility, The Center for Vibrant Living (CVL). It stems from a desire to expand the health and wellness services Sharon Towers offers, not only reaching out to current and future residents, but to the broader community. It will promote an enlightened and holistic approach to aging that addresses the specific physical, mental, and dietary issues seniors face with the goal of improving the experience and perception of the aging process. It will provide integrated facilities for activities such as swimming, hydrotherapy, strength/cardio training, fitness classes, indoor track, and a variety of spa services from traditional to alternative. Nutritional education and mental health issues will be integral to the CVL’s mission with dedicated space included in the program, including a farm-to-table restaurant that will be open to the public, featuring a healthy menu with herbs and greens grown in a new 3,500sf rooftop greenhouse. By opening to non-residents age 50 and above, the CVL also becomes the introductory point of Sharon Towers as an amenity for those in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Shook Kelley led Sharon Towers through a strategic process as they sought to address the same generational issues many CCRCs face, whereby what many older adults – especially the rising tide of Baby Boomers as they begin to make themselves known within the CCRC world – are looking for in a different senior living experience. They are active and want to be engaged in the community. To meet these desires, Sharon Towers realized it needed to evolve from the traditional approaches to senior living. Many seek an environment to age in place, but it is natural to fall into sedentary habits that lead to decline with an increasing dependency on family members even when/if receiving basic services. A focus on vitality and well-being is attractive to those who prefer to be more active and retain a connected lifestyle. A strategic framework was developed to enable Sharon Towers to fulfill its vision of community that inspires and supports one's best self, partnering with its residents to improve quality of life rather than simply to provide care and a place to live.

SouthPark has grown in a way that has Sharon Towers situated in an advantageous position – close proximity to everything residents need yet still private, hidden behind thick tree cover. Residents can walk to places one normally thinks of as being a car ride away – abundant dining and shopping options, and medical facilities. Shook Kelley envisioned the design as a true village of residential, retail, health and wellness, office, and community uses that connect to the existing campus and to the residential and commercial properties around it. The result is one that seeks to step away from the institutional nature of typical senior-oriented facilities toward something closer to hospitality design. Concerns over security and isolation are balanced with buildings that are human-scaled and more residential in feel. This approach is meant to appeal to the empty-nesters of south Charlotte who typically are moving from much larger suburban single family homes. It adopts the attitude of welcoming and warmth that feels familiar, but offers a much more dense, accessible, urban facility that serves an almost civic role as a common denominator, bringing diverse groups of people together – an innovative and unique approach to what senior-oriented living feels like. In short, it seeks to present the modern CCRC as a seamless natural extension of previous home life with obvious added benefits specific to an aging population. By integrating the components into an identifiable and coherent whole, the design encourages an engaged, communal way of life to residents and neighbors alike. It also helps to transform the culture of the more conventional CCRC from the compartmentalized approach into one of shared, flexible offerings with broad appeal.

Shook Kelley is engaged in design services focused upon the planned upgrading and phased expansion of the SouthPark campus to take advantage of these new strategic opportunities and bring this approach to a waiting market. Phase one of the design, recently completed, involved 18 new independent living units, the Magnolia Villas. Currently under construction is the multi-story, 46-unit independent living building, The Deerwood. Future phases include a 38,000sf well-being facility, The Center for Vibrant Living (CVL). It stems from a desire to expand the health and wellness services Sharon Towers offers, not only reaching out to current and future residents, but to the broader community. It will promote an enlightened and holistic approach to aging that addresses the specific physical, mental, and dietary issues seniors face with the goal of improving the experience and perception of the aging process. It will provide integrated facilities for activities such as swimming, hydrotherapy, strength/cardio training, fitness classes, indoor track, and a variety of spa services from traditional to alternative. Nutritional education and mental health issues will be integral to the CVL’s mission with dedicated space included in the program, including a farm-to-table restaurant that will be open to the public, featuring a healthy menu with herbs and greens grown in a new 3,500sf rooftop greenhouse. By opening to non-residents age 50 and above, the CVL also becomes the introductory point of Sharon Towers as an amenity for those in the surrounding neighborhoods.

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