Marty Jensen

When Wyndemere Senior Living in Wheaton, IL, launched an expansion this summer, it was our first major capital project since 1999. 

Meeting — and then exceeding — marketing expectations was critical.

When we started planning the new building, we anticipated it would take six months to get depositors for 70% of the new apartment homes. That was our criteria for starting to finance the project, and that was how we budgeted and planned. In reality, it took only 60 days to get to 100%.

In trying to sell something, if you can create a “wow factor,” you’re halfway there. 

Wyndemere’s 33 new independent apartments range from 1,000-1,900 square feet, in an addition that will also offer underground parking, a saltwater pool, a top-floor lounge and rooftop terrace.

They’ll fit into our existing Life Plan Community, which offers a full continuum of on-site care from assisted living and memory care to skilled nursing and rehabilitation.

But even with the best amenities, you need more to secure sales.

Our success was the result of creating that “wow factor,” relying on a talented and enthusiastic team to market it, and forming partnerships with the best companies in our industry.

Software tools

Showing off apartments that haven’t been built yet is an industry-wide challenge. We used Ripple, an inventory management system, to beam renderings of our building on 65-inch screens.

Clicking on specific apartments gave both a three-dimensional dollhouse view and a two-dimensional standard floor plan for each home. This was an amazing way to show prospective residents the apartments before they could walk through them. 

Open design

Wyndemere’s open floor plans make the homes feel spacious, and an abundance of windows expands on that. All of the apartments also have patios or decks that maximize views of green space, gardens, trees and landscaped areas. You get the feeling that it’s a neighborhood. We’re creating a real home rather than merely providing an apartment.

Enthusiastic sales approach

You can have a good product and good pricing, but without the right approach in the sales process, you’ll never be successful selling. We involved a lot of people in the process, putting together pricing, layouts, entrance fees, information about amenities, and more. All those pieces were in place. Then we turned our excellent people loose to do what they do so well.

Team coordination

We turned to a range of outside experts for behind-the-scenes and resident-facing solutions, including Bridge Senior Housing, RDG Senior Living Interiors, SBA Architecture, Ryan Construction, and LCS Development.

My job was to keep everyone involved, engaged and informed about our needs and our owners’ vision for the project. We’re open, transparent, and willing to discuss anything that people bring up. The more we make all the players part of the team, the better the project will be.

To date, our expansion has a waiting list for units that are expected to be complete by late 2020.

And that’s a “wow” that speaks volumes to the project as a whole.