With its marble flooring, multitiered crystal chandeliers, French-style carved moldings and two dramatic grand staircases, the lobby at the Palace at Coral Gables rivals that of many five-star hotels. The indoor swimming pool at the $80-million facility is adorned with a Venetian-inspired sky-painted ceiling, Mediterranean columns and painted canvas murals. But the Palace is no hotel; it’s a senior living community, with 243 independent-living apartments and a separate floor for assisted living.
“I am, first of all, in hospitality,” says Jacob Shaham, CEO and COO of Miami-based Palace Group, which developed and runs the community. “Together with hospitality, I am in health care.” Rent at the Palace includes meals at one of two restaurants, social and cultural programs, weekly housekeeping, fitness programs and concierge service.
The Palace’s niche demographic of affluent seniors, or children who can afford to keep their parents in luxury, is a small one, Shaham acknowledges. But it’s a profitable one. The company, which has focused exclusively on that demographic since shortly after its founding in 1980, has revenue of $100 million a year. It has 850 employees at the seven communities it owns in south Florida, plus another 400 employees at its two communities in Tel Aviv.
The Palace at Coral Gables, which opened in June, is the company’s newest community. Next September, the company plans to start building a 400-unit facility in Weston that will include everything from independent living to assisted living and memory care.