Life leases are gaining popularity

Catherine Gardens at Schubert Centre is giving back and offering a weekend retreat at Sparkling Hill Resort.

  • Mar. 3, 2017 11:40 a.m.

Catherine Gardens at Schubert Centre is giving back and offering a weekend retreat at Sparkling Hill Resort.

Catherine Gardens at Schubert Centre is an independent living building for ages 55-plus, featuring 56 suites offering spacious floor plans with downtown living and urban conveniences right at the door. If you refer someone who buys a suite in the building, you will be given a weekend at Sparkling Hill or the equivalent value in cash (some conditions apply, please inquire at the presentation office).

Now coming up to its first anniversary, Cathering Gardens was developed by a partnership composed of the Schubert Centre, Yellowridge Construction and Terra Lumina Life Lease. Terra Lumina specializes in social-purpose real estate, providing non-profit groups in B.C. the opportunity to develop seniors’ housing tailored to their members and local community needs.

The partners chose life lease as the mechanism to build Catherine Gardens.

“The life lease method is an excellent way for non-profits to finance the construction of seniors housing without the need for government subsidies or large mortgages,” said Kate Mancer, principal of Terra Lumina, one of Canada’s leading authorities on life lease housing and the author of The Future of Seniors Housing – Planning, Building and Operating Successful Seniors Housing Projects.

A life lease is a form of pre-paid lease that offers a level of security and protection from the real estate market not found in standard condominium projects. In a life lease, the resident pays an entrance fee (the cost of construction) to a non-profit society, which owns the building on title. This buys the resident the right to occupy the home of their choosing in the development for as long as they so choose (the lease itself is typically 30 years less a day for tax purposes). During the period of their occupancy they pay monthly fees, similar to condo or strata fees, which cover the maintenance and replacement reserve costs associated with the suite. Then, when the resident decides to move or is no longer able to live independently the non-profit society returns the entrance fee to the resident, or their estate, directly, minus a small fee to refurbish and re-market the suite. Residents typically finance the purchase of a life lease unit with the sale of their existing home. Downsizing enables them to help pay for their retirement by using the equity saved in their previous home and by reducing the costs of home operations and maintenance.

“When people want to move out, the transition is very easy,” said Mancer. “It takes the unknown out of traditional ownership and provides and simplifies the process not only for the resident, but also for their family.”

As marketing and lifestyle manager with Terra Lumina, Jennifer Strachan said the ambience, floor plans and location of Catherine Gardens are huge selling points.

“Where else in Vernon can you live in a new place within easy walking distance to the Schubert Centre, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and everything else the downtown has to offer? It makes it an easy sell that’s for sure,” she said. “The best part of my job is hearing the residents say they made the right choice.

“If you have a friend or loved one who would enjoy living at Catherine Gardens, give me a call or visit the presentation centre.”

For more information, visit the presentation centre inside the Schubert Centre, Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or call 250-306-0471 for an appointment.

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