Fall Real Estate 2003

Publication Date: Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Planning for the future
Hyatt Senior Residence is filling fast

by Susan Golovin

Norma 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 until May 2005.

The senior residence is situated on 22.5 acres on Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto, between Ronald McDonald House and the Children's Health Council.

Norma and Setsuo Dairiki plan to leave their 6,000-square-foot Atherton home when their new unit in the Classic Residence by Hyatt is completed in 2005.

"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.

Although ground has been broken at the Classic Residence by Hyatt complex, across from Stanford Shopping Center, there's not much to view on site yet. The scale model can be scene at the sales office at 463 Waverly St., Palo Alto.

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 space to the three-bedroom, three-and-one-half-bath with den, which offers a luxurious 4,200 square feet.
"We have seven of these units, and five have been sold," he said. "They are unique to this location -- I don't know of any other senior residence in the country which offers that much space."

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, two-baths are priced from $928,900 to $1.3 million. The 4,200-square-foot unit sells for $4,030,000.
But, "90 percent of the original entrance fee reverts to the estate when the unit is sold," Johnson added.

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 $7,430. This fee covers 30 meals per month, property taxes, maintenance, all utilities (except telephone), 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 said.

"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 younger.

"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.

"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 Dairiki