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Arcadia Meets Growing Seniors' Needs in Honolulu, Hawaii


Spending one’s golden years in Hawaii might mean spending a lot of gold there as well, but a new CHHSM-affiliated continuing care retirement community puts that idyllic scenario within the reach of moderate-income seniors.

15 Craigside in Honolulu is designed to provide seniors with the beauty of island life, the amenities of an active lifestyle, plus the support of assisted living and, if needed, nursing care.

15 Craigside, so named for an estate that once occupied the property overlooking Honolulu, was developed by Arcadia, a CHHSM member that operates another Honolulu senior living community, Arcadia Retirement Residence.

The new 13-story building opened its doors on March 4 and is expected to follow in the footsteps of Arcadia to become only the second nationally accredited continuing care retirement community in Hawaii.

With three levels of care on campus — residential, assisted and long-term, including a 41-bed skilled nursing facility — the community can meet a range of health and wellness needs for seniors.

Most importantly, residents of 15 Craigside’s 170 apartments are guaranteed lifetime residency. To qualify, prospective residents must meet a minimum level of personal assets, plus pay a non-refundable entry fee and a monthly service fee.

The minimums and fees are substantial but still within reach of most middle-class homeowners in Hawaii, says Emmet White, Arcadia’s president and the one who guided 15 Craigside from conception to completion. The higher costs for assisted living services and skilled nursing care can be supported, if needed, by a resident’s asset base.

The project is located on the site of the former headquarters of the Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ. When its headquarters moved, the conference decided to turn the 1.5-acre property into a retirement community for moderate-income seniors.

White says the design and operation of 15 Craigside reflects the Christian principles that drive the missions of Arcadia and the UCC. And in this case, the goal is to serve the kupuna, the Hawaiian word for grandparents or elders.

“Our core values encourage us that in everything we do be humble, understanding, gentle, just, merciful, honest, peaceful and faithful,” he says. “It’s basically the beatitudes in shorthand.”

While a Christian mission inspired 15 Craigside, the $86 million project was funded with help of tax-exempt public bonds and is open to all qualified seniors.

Most of the community’s new residents were already living in Hawaii, though many originally came from Asia or the U.S. mainland. 15 Craigside reflects that diversity of Asian and Western heritages.

“It will really be a melting pot of cultures,” says Jan Kaeo, an Arcadia spokeswoman. “I think it’s going to be a great lifestyle for them.”

A sunny climate and healthy environment appear to contribute to a longer life. Hawaii has the highest life expectancy in the nation at 81.3 years, according to a 2007 study by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Kaeo says that longevity is also enhanced when seniors live in a community rather than alone.

15 Craigside offers residents views of a sunny paradise, but the project reached its opening day by passing through the financial storm of the Great Recession. As the project was preparing to break ground, the economic crisis made it nearly impossible to borrow money for construction.

But as the crisis eased, funds flowed and 15 Craigside moved forward.

Kaeo says the project endured in part because residents who made commitments to buy into 15 Craigside did not waver and maintained a level of support that encouraged others to invest.

“Our investors were surprised that our people have stuck by us,” Kaeo says. “It speaks to how this project was put together. It has been a long haul, but we believed this was a project the Lord had his hand on, and we operated on faith.”