LCS, Purchase College Building $320 Million, On-Campus Independent Living

By Chuck Sudo | March 7, 2019

A growing number of colleges are building senior housing near their campuses. Now, one New York school is going a step further, building a community on its campus.

Purchase College — part of the State University of New York system (SUNY) — recently announced plans for Broadview Senior Living at Purchase College. The Purchase, New York-based college will partner with Des Moines, Iowa-based Life Care Services (LCS) and Senior Care Services on the $320 million, 220-unit independent living community.

The community is one of the final moves for Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz, who is retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school yearand will remain involved in Broadview’s development after he retires.

A development over 10 years in the making

Shortly after Schwarz became Purchase College president in 2002, he was tasked to look at the college’s land for ways to support the school’s mission through developing unused parcels, Schwarz told Senior Housing News. Purchase College established a committee of academic and real estate experts to explore its development options.

Several proposals were studied including building a conference center and hotel, and building faculty housing on site. Senior housing quickly emerged as a top candidate, in large part because Purchase College has a lot of seniors living in the area who audit courses on campus.

“We talked to undergrads about their experiences taking classes with seniors, and found they were fairly positive,” Schwarz said. “One student was studying World War II and told us there was a man in his class who fought in it.”

The committee designated 40 acres in the heart of the campus for the project.  Because the land for the site is owned by the SUNY system, the project needed approval from the New York State Assembly. Legislation allowing Purchase College to lease the site was approved by the Assembly and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2011. The initial terms called for a 40-year lease. The legislation was amended in 2015 to allow a 50-year lease.

The rent being paid by LCS and SCD will be part of a “return of capital” plan to further Purchase College’s mission. Seventy-five percent of the rent will be used to fund scholarships, while the other 25% will be used to hire faculty.

Finding the right development partner

Once the state approved leasing the land, Purchase College established a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Purchase College Advancement Corp., to handle all matters related to the development, and announced a request for proposals (RFP) process to find a lead developer for the project.