Norterre planned community

Norterre community buildings in Liberty, Mo. will surround a park with water and fire features, sculptures and an area for performances

Image courtesy of Action Pact Design

Lifelong health and wellness is the central concept of planned communities with integrated housing and health facilities being developed in concert with their local hospitals. Norterre, a community under development in Liberty, Mo., will be located on 17 acres adjacent to Liberty Hospital. The hospital is a partner on the project, along with Action Pact, Manhattan, Kan., a company focused on senior environments; and Healthy Living Centers of America, West Des Moines, Iowa, specialists in medically based fitness.

“This project had four primary goals, and the design is completely driven by those goals,” says Steve Shields, chairman and managing partner, Norterre.

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The first of these is to create an integrated health system that makes it simple to progress, for example, from acute care to post-acute care to rehabilitation. The second goal is to foster an environment in which people of all ages, physical conditions and fitness levels can achieve maximum health and well-being. The third is to design a community in which people can remain fully engaged in life as they age. “And then fourth is that we create a set of buildings where it’s natural for people of all walks of life to live, work and play alongside one another, all aligned around the pursuit of well-being,” Shields says.

A Healthy Living Center will be at the heart of the community. This 50,000-square-foot building will include exercise studios, a track, weight and cardio areas, warm water therapy, lap and exercise pools, a demonstration kitchen and child care center. The Healthy Living Center will be open to residents, corporate memberships and individual members from the surrounding area.

The first phase of the project, due to open this summer, will include the Healthy Living Center; a restaurant; salon spa; assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing residences; and short-term rehabilitation suites. The buildings will surround a park with water and fire features, sculptures, an area for performances, landscaping and green space, an ice skating rink in the winter and outdoor dining. Housing for adults 55 and older and non-age-specific housing will be added in later phases, along with amenities such as retail.

According to Shields, Liberty Hospital is a key component of the development. Having the hospital next door will help Norterre and hospital staff work together to ensure that discharge planning and other transitions along the continuum of care “are smooth, well-planned and thoughtful,” he says. “This wouldn’t be possible without a forward-thinking hospital led by a forward-thinking CEO who understands what the future is bringing in terms of what health care system goals and reimbursements are going to be geared toward,” Shields notes.

Henderson (Nev.) Hospital, which opened October 2016, will serve as an anchor institution at Union Village, an integrated health village being developed on 155 acres outside Las Vegas. Union Village will offer inpatient, outpatient, physician, skilled nursing, home health, senior living and wellness services. It will comprise the hospital and health care complex; a specialty retail center with medical offices, residential apartments, a hotel and entertainment options; a senior village; and a cultural center. When the project is complete, it will include approximately 900 units for seniors and 750 market-rate apartments, according to Gary Holland, co-founder and partner, Union Village.

Union Village rendering

Union Village outside of Las Vegas will comprise a hospital and health care complex; a specialty retail center with medical offices, residential apartments, a hotel and entertainment options; a senior village; and a cultural center.

Illustration courtesy of Union Village

Among the health care facilities on-site will be a dialysis clinic located adjacent to residential housing. “For dialysis, the resident will no longer need to travel to a location off-campus for treatment. The dialysis center will literally be steps away,” Holland says.

"Our motto is 'Live, Work, Play,' and to that end we will offer a full range of housing options, which will appeal to seniors, professionals, families and young adults,” he adds. “There will be many jobs at Union Village, but the 'Play' aspect is very important to us as well. We will have a huge park and many facilities and venues that will create a fun environment."

Holland reports that cities in other states have contacted the developers about replicating the health village concept in their areas. “It’s really a hot topic for a lot of people,” he says.

Amy Eagle is a freelance journalist based in Homewood, Ill., who specializes in health care-related topics She is a regular contributor to Health Facilities Management.