By Mindy Aguon
An international resort operator and a group of local and national senior housing construction experts have begun discussions toward developing and offering a retirement home and lifestyle community.
The Magas Patriot Group and LeoPalace Resort Guam are among the primary parties involved in the talks to develop what the proponents called an “elegant senior living facility.”
The group and LeoPalace held a town hall meeting yesterday afternoon at the resort, in part to introduce the concept to members of the community who might be interested in it.
LeoPalace is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, and part of that includes the senior living project with Magas Patriot Group.
The executive market
In addition to the proposed senior wellness living facility at one of the La Cuesta buildings, LeoPalace General Manager Toshi Doi announced that LeoPalace will create an executive floor to attract high-end customers.
“We will steal customers from Hyatt, Dusit Thani, Westin, Sheraton and Nikko,” Doi stated. “You don’t have to have a beach to have a good time.”
The Magas Group’s brochure names Anthony Taijeron, Michael Chung and Richard Hensel as having more than 30 years of expertise in “premium health-care construction experience” being tapped for the project.
Dr. Vince Akimoto, a supporter of the project, said the idea takes inspiration from a concept, popular in the U.S. mainland, that is geared toward the senior citizen market.
Akimoto is a physician and co-founder of the American Medical Center, which recently invested in a second medical clinic in Mangilao. Akimoto said his involvement in this new project is separate from the clinic.
Skilled nursing care, assisted living, dining, barber/beauty, laundry and other services will be part of the services for the concept, according to the group.
Investing in renovations
Discussions for the project coincide with LeoPalace’s plan to further invest in renovations to the sprawling resort, which already has various amenities, such as a golf course, a hotel, condominium complexes, a man-made lake and an Olympic-size swimming pool, a track and other sports facilities.
The resort has hosted international sports teams, as well as Olympics-bound athletes who want a tropical climate and resort feel for their training.
LeoPalace Resort Guam is owned by Tokyo-based LeoPalace 21, a corporation with vast subsidiaries and affiliates that include senior home care and living facilities in Japan.
Akimoto said he hopes the retirement community concept with LeoPalace would be ready for its first occupants by July.
This would be a first not just for Guam, but for the entire Western Pacific, he said.
A local option
Former Sen. Larry Kasperbauer attended the meeting at LeoPalace.
He said many seniors feel they have no choice but to leave Guam to be cared for, since no facilities exist on the island similar to what was presented yesterday.
“We’re hoping that someday, there (will be) one or several options where individuals wouldn’t have to move away from Guam because there isn’t … transportation to take us to the doctor, easy access to medical care, and so on,” Kasperbauer said.
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