Baby Boomer Retirement Community Designs

Baby Boomer Retirement Community Designs

Del Webb Sun City, the country’s biggest builder of “active adult” housing, is changing its formula to appeal to Baby Boomers.

On January 1, 1960, the Del E. Webb Corporation invited members of the public to see its new community, Sun City, Arizona. Sun City was not just a new development, but a new concept: a place where senior citizens could enjoy a busy, social retirement, playing golf and shuffleboard in year-round sunshine. It was so novel that company executives were not sure anyone would come.

Instead, 100,000 people flocked to the grand opening, touring the model homes, the golf course, the shopping center. By 1970, Sun City had a population of 16,000; it now has 37,000 residents and a sister development next door, Sun City West, with another 25,000. (I recommend watching the 1961 promotional video for Sun City, below.)

Today, age-restricted communities make up a sizable segment of the housing market, and the company founded in 1928 by Delbert “Del” Webb is its biggest player. But many of its newer “active adult” communities look quite different from the popular image of Sun City and other classic, large retirement resorts.

In recent years, Baby Boomer Community and home design changes are even better at appealing to the nation’s 76 million Baby Boomers, aged between 55 and 74. They learned that Baby Boomers don’t want the same things that our parents did.

Baby Boomers Want a Location Near a City Center

Increasingly, Baby Boomers want to live near a city. Does this mean they prefer an urban lifestyle, as we keep hearing about the Millennials?

Facilities and Activities for Baby Boomers That are Still Working

According to a 2013 Del Webb survey of Baby Boomers, 79 percent of us anticipate continuing to work in some capacity after we retire. In newer Retirement Communities, there’s a mix of regular full-time workers, people who have scaled back from full- to part-time, retirees who still do some consulting or contract work, and those pursuing a second career after retirement, as well as traditional retirees.