Andy Isakson, managing partner of Isakson Living, explains his vision for Peachtree Hills Place, an amenity-rich, independent living community in Buckhead. The community was born out of the personal experiences of his parents, Ed and Julia Isakson, after their difficult search for a community that would provide an active lifestyle combined with on-site healthcare.
When his own parents were ready to move into a retirement home, Andy Isakson was having trouble finding an elegant environment that combined onsite healthcare services with social activities and a thriving community of friends and neighbors.
So, he decided to build one.
Peachtree Hills Place is the result of the needs he saw for his own family and research that has taken him on a global journey to the best senior living facilities and top resort properties, where he identified the amenities and social features from the top hospitality brands to bring to this unique community in the heart of Buckhead.
After years of research, design and development, move-in day is just a few months away for the 55+ continuing care retirement community that will feature two croquet courts, a pétanque court, a grand social hall, premier dining, supportive living facilities and a wellness center that will rival the best in the world.
“It’s All About The People”
So, what did he learn in visiting more than 75 senior living facilities and resorts around the world? “It’s all about the people,” said Isakson. “Whether that’s dining, an expansive lounge or the fitness center – it’s all designed around the social connection with people.”
The 20-acre community is set within the revered Peachtree Hills neighborhood, with retail shops just steps away and an array of friendly neighbors that include young couples and families.
“I never thought I’d find a spot this good,” said Isakson. “We’re not on a busy road like Peachtree or Piedmont. We’re right in a neighborhood. We have a little node here of service-oriented retail. It’s a great place to mix with the existing community and be part of it.”
In fact, the pétanque court will be situated on a public corner outside the community, situated where the whole neighborhood can play the French game he discovered in his travels.
Home sales have also been a social process. Kevin Isakson, Director of Sales and Marketing, has been hosting monthly cocktail hours at Peachtree Hills Place for current Members (those who have purchased a home) and prospective Members. It’s been a great forum for Members to get to know each other before move-in and for prospective Members to learn more about the community and interact with those who have already made the decision to make the move.
“We’ve already built a community even before we’ve moved in,” said Andy Isakson. Families are buying into the community, including his own brother, Senator Isakson. “We’re seeing a lot of that,” he added.
Amenities Make the Difference
In terms of amenities, he’s pulled together inspiration from the top resorts he visited in his travels and brought them to the community. There will be ample social spaces in the Great Hall (which Isakson dubs as the “prettiest room in all of Atlanta.”) valet parking, access to personal drivers and a superb food component.
“Food is very important because that’s something members will experience every day,” he said. “There was one person we would like to work with, if we could get her, and that was Amanda Dumich, who worked at a neighborhood favorite, Paul’s Restaurant (now closed) in Peachtree Hills and already knows a lot of our members. Now we’re getting ready to bring on an executive chef that she’s worked with before, so we’re going to have a great team and a terrific food and beverage program. “
It is of the utmost importance to Andy that all diets will be accommodated and a dietician on staff will work to make sure all menus are meeting members’ needs.
The croquet courts, however, will be the centerpiece not just of the project itself – taking center court in the development – but also of the social life at Peachtree Hills Place.
“We learned about croquet through our members. We noticed that during the summer we couldn’t find anyone because they were all up in the mountains where they played croquet,” Isakson said. “So we went up there to see it. We came back and redesigned the project and realized we could have two croquet courts in the courtyard. There aren’t any other croquet courts inside of I-285, so it’s a great social amenity. It’s a way for people to get together, and a lot of members have responded to it. It’s going to be a really great aspect of the community.”
One thing that has surprised Isakson so far is that about a third of buyers are younger than he expected: Baby Boomers. “I wouldn’t compare Peachtree Hills Place to any other place,” he said. “One thing that makes us unique is we’re attracting a broad spectrum of people and ages, including younger people. It’s not what you typically think of as a senior living community. It’s more like a high-end condominium. It’s a great group of people. They really like being together.”
Household Model of Care
And Baby Boomers today are very interested in the healthcare they may need tomorrow. At Peachtree Hills Place, care options will include The Household Model of Care where people with short-term, long-term or dementia care needs can live with people of similar needs. They will share a home, where meals are cooked to order every day by a designated Homemaker. Isakson is also bringing innovative dementia care to Buckhead from the United Kingdom with the Dementia Care Matters model of care.
“We did the first one in Georgia at our Park Springs retirement community,” Isakson said. “The core belief is that with dementia, you may lose some of your abilities and function but your emotions are still there. They teach us how to connect with people emotionally. Peachtree Hills Place will be the second Household Model of Care in Georgia.”
His research also showed that not only do facilities offering this type of care have a wait list of people who want to live, but they also have a waitlist of people who want to work there. “That really caught my attention,” said Isakson, “because that’s probably the bigger issue: Having the right people to work in healthcare.”
The healthcare options – from wellness to rehab to dementia – give people peace of mind. “You can use me as an example,” Isakson said, who is 66. “I don’t have any issues but I’m planning to live at Peachtree Place because you just don’t know what may come up. Here, you never have to move. You might have to go to the hospital but then you can come home and do your rehabilitation. It really takes the burden off families who might be faced with a crisis and not have help. We have a medical practice here. We have alternative living arrangements should conditions change. It’s a gift you give to your children to make that easier, and a gift to yourself.”
At Peachtree Hills Place, residents enjoy an equity model of home ownership in that they can buy and sell their homes on the open real estate market. “People can leave their homes to their children or other heirs (though you can only move in if you’re 55 or older).”
A community as rich in vision and amenities called for a brand experience that brought the same level of sophistication and design as the community itself. infinitee was engaged to bring the community to life through compelling imagery and storytelling across traditional and digital mediums.
When asked what he’s most proud of so far, Isakson did not equivocate. “The people we’ve attracted as members and the staff that are coming together. I’m excited about the team we have and the mission for Peachtree Hills Place. I’ve done a lot of research (because it’s really fun to tell you the truth!). But here’s the essence: we ask, is this fun? Do you enjoy being there? Is there social space? That’s what we’re really trying to incorporate here.”