|Fall Real Estate 2003
Publication Date: Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Planning for the future
by Susan Golovin
and Setsuo Dairiki of Atherton are thinking ahead. They recently
purchased a two bedroom, fourth-floor unit facing the creek in
the Classic Residence by Hyatt -- but it won't be ready for them
The senior residence is situated on 22.5 acres on Sand Hill
Road in Palo Alto, between Ronald McDonald House and the Children's
"It was our second choice," Norma said; "the next
door unit was already taken. ...We were waiting and waiting," adding
that it was their daughter, a physician at Stanford, who encouraged
them to plan for the future.
To date, 80 percent -- 312 of the 388 available units -- have sold. "The
most popular ones are the two-bedroom, two-bathroom, on the first and fourth
floors," said Barry Johnson, senior director of sales.
"The first and fourth floors are the most sought after for a variety of reasons. Some people don't like elevators -- or alternately, want the nice views of the hills or creek. People with pets usually prefer the first floor," he said. The upper units have balconies, while those on the first floor have terraces.
The Dairikis will be moving from a stunning, Japanese-inspired 6,000-square-foot
home that includes an enclosed swimming pool. "We considered staying here
and hiring help when it became necessary, but there are always problems with
help," Norma said.
Their new digs will not be too shabby.
The buildings were designed by the Steinberg Group of San Jose and feature Craftsman
details and natural materials. Amenities such as porcelain tile bathroom floors
and marble counters, slab granite kitchen counters, and washer/dryers in each
unit, are definitely high end. The minimum ceiling height is 10 feet.
Similar attention is being given to the grounds. "We have to plant 900 trees
in order to be approved by the city," said Johnson. Trellises
will dot the landscape, enhancing the many walking paths.
"There are 15 different floor plans," he added. Units
differ in square footage -- from a one-bedroom, one-bath 900-square-foot
the three-bedroom, three-and-one-half-bath with den, which offers a luxurious
Of course, units also differ in price. "Classic Residence by Hyatt decided
to cater to the high-wealth clientele," said Johnson. The
least expensive units cost $559,400. The most popular, two-bedroom,
from $928,900 to $1.3 million. The 4,200-square-foot unit sells
In addition to these entrance fees, there is also a sliding scale
of monthly fees determined by the size of the unit: $3,105 up to
covers 30 meals per month, property taxes, maintenance, all utilities
housekeeping, linen, valet parking, cultural and social activities
and all levels of health care. "We tell people to anticipate a 3- to 5-percent increase
in monthly fees per year," he said.
Second occupant entrance fee is $25,000, with a flat monthly fee of $1,500 for
all size units.
A major criterion for setting the fee scale is the health care,
which is all-inclusive. "People
are paying a little more in the beginning," Johnson said. "It's
pooled risk. You have to pass a physical exam and not be likely
to need a higher standard
of care when you enter."
Some people will eventually have to use the assisted living or
skilled nursing and/or separate "memory support" (Alzheimer's care) facility, which
are housed in a separate building. "Whether you use it for two years or
10, the fees will not increase beyond what you have originally contracted to
pay," he said. "We will begin marketing the advanced
care to the community about six months before move-in."
If genetics play a role, the Dairikis, who are 77 and 81 (the average age of
the current owners is 76-77) should get their money's worth. Setsuo's mother
lived to 108, and his father to 100. Norma's mother was also a centenarian.
The monthly fees also include such perks as an indoor pool, a fitness center
with trainer, Jacuzzi, a spa that offers facials and beauty salon, a wellness
center staffed with nurses and a physical therapist. The social and cultural
activities will be presented in the 4,000-square-foot auditorium.
For the Dairikis the location was the major selling point. "We raised our
three kids in Palo Alto. All our contacts and friends are here, and our doctors
are at Stanford. I don't even have to change banks," Norma
"We also feel that there will be a stimulating group of people there," added
her husband, a Stanford alum who is a retired SRI research scientist.
"We looked at at least a dozen places before we decided on Hyatt," she
said. "We even went to the Hyatt Residence in Arizona to sample
the food. The food was central to us."
Dining at the new residence will include three dining areas: an elegant dining
room, a casual one and a bistro that includes a convenience store. A registered
dietitian will supervise the meals, and there's even a cocktail bar.
"Other places have an age limit and a long list of applicants. ...There
were 250 ahead of us at Channing House," Norma said. By contrast,
there is no upper age limit at Hyatt. Applicants must be 62, but
spouses can be
"About 60 percent of the people have some tie to Stanford," Johnson
said, adding that those with Stanford affiliations had priority
initially, but not now. The only link between Hyatt and the university is that
Classic Residence is leasing the land from Stanford.
"We require a 20 percent deposit for application," he
said, noting that it is completely refundable (without interest)
if a buyer
has a change of heart.
"You kind of have to know what you're getting into financially," said
Norma, who recommends going to a financial advisor. "Put your thinking cap
on and figure it out based on the worst-case scenario because you can't predict
bonds and the stock market."
For information about Classic Residences by Hyatt, call (650) 838-0300 or visit www.hyattclassic.com.