By Leisah Woldoff
PHOENIX — The concept of lifelong learning takes on a whole new meaning at Mirabella at ASU, a 20-story senior living facility being built on the Arizona State University Tempe campus.
The facility, scheduled to be completed in 2020, is a partnership between the university and Pacific Retirement Services. It will include 252 independent-living apartments and 52 health care units, as well as a health club with an indoor pool, a performing arts theater, an art studio and four restaurants.
But it’s not only what’s inside the 500,000-square-foot facility that makes it attractive to the baby boomers who have already purchased 90 percent of the apartments — it’s the proximity to the cultural and educational opportunities that ASU has to offer.
“We have attracted people who see all the benefits of continuing to learn,” said Paul Riepma, vice president of marketing for Mirabella at ASU. “We have also attracted people who believe in a multicultural, multigenerational, more urban walkable neighborhood.”
The residents will have a Mirabella at ASU student ID card that will enable them to audit nearly 400 ASU classes and have full access to the ASU library, Riepma said. There will also be classes and lectures offered inside the towers, and sporting and cultural events held on campus and at the nearby Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium.
One way that Mirabella at ASU will integrate with the college community is a career-mentoring program between residents and graduating seniors, which already has started, Riepma said.
Another example is that one of the restaurants will include live performances by ASU music students.
The independent apartments range from about 900-2,700 square feet and are “very elaborate, spacious condo-style apartments,” Riepma said. Each has an outside covered deck, laundry room and full kitchen.
At the groundbreaking ceremony in February, ASU President Michael Crow called Mirabella at ASU “the coolest dorm in the world,” according to ASU Now. “There’s no reason everyone can’t be a college student and engaged in what this community has to offer for the entirety of their lives.”
The majority of those who have already purchased homes at Mirabella at ASU are between the ages of 62 and 75, and from the Metro Phoenix area, according to Riepma.
Many of the residents have a connection with ASU, with the list including ASU professors, deans and administrators, he said.
Mirabella is classified as a life-plan community, which means that it is aimed at adults with active lifestyles and offers multiple levels of care.
The lower floors of the facility will include an assisted-living program and a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center with private suites, and a secure memory-care wing.
“A lot of people really like that concept” and the peace of mind it brings, Riepma said. “They know if someday their good health changes, whatever they need is right here delivered by people they know and they trust, and all their friends are right there.”
Residents pay a “buy-in” fee that ranges from $378,500 for a one-bedroom unit to $810,200 for a two-bedroom penthouse; 85 percent of this fee is refunded to heirs after a resident’s death. Residents also pay a monthly fee that covers dining, housekeeping, utilities, shuttle service, activities and other amenities. This fee ranges from $4,195 for a single person in a one-bedroom unit to $5,570 for a couple in a penthouse suite.
Without the refund option, prices start at $297,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.
According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day so “somebody’s got to come up with new ideas about what retirement means,” Riepma said.
Leisah Woldoff is a Phoenix-based freelance writer.