Novick says he saw a gap in the provision of senior living in terms of offering “real hospitality”
- Gidon Novick is the co-founder of LIFT airline, which represents the minority shareholders of SAA’s chosen strategic equity partner, the Takatso Consortium, and was also the founder of budget airline Kulula.com.
- He has now expanded to luxury boutique retirement developments.
- Circle Senior Living, of which he is the co-founder, plans to roll out four boutique lifestyle retirement estates – three in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town.
Gidon Novick, the co-founder of LIFT airline, part of South African Airways’ chosen strategic equity partner, the Takatso Consortium, and co-founder of Home Suite Hotels, has expanded his focus to luxury retirement studios.
Circle Senior Living, of which he is the co-founder, plans to roll out four boutique lifestyle retirement estates – three in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town. The name Circle is meant to represent a holistic approach to senior living.
The first Circle Senior Living development is in Sandown, Johannesburg, close to central Sandton. Units went on sale a few months ago, and demand is high enough that the development is expanding onto neighbouring land purchased.
The second development will be in Melrose, the third in Houghton. The first one in Cape Town will likely be on the Atlantic Seaboard, says Novick.
“We are mindful of the semigration trend to the Western Cape, but there is still a substantial market for luxury retirement offerings in Johannesburg. That is why we are initially focusing on Johannesburg,” says Novick.
The Sandown development will have 74 units, varying in size from studios to two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Prices range from R945 000 to R7 145 000 and ownership is based on the life right model. Effectively, one purchases lifetime usage of the property, and one’s estate is refunded a majority portion of that investment on one’s passing.
The Sandown centre will have socialising areas such as a yoga room, coffee shop, restaurant, pool, party venue, and retail, as well as amenities like spas, an on-site cinema, a business hub and a concierge. Visits with family are accommodated in a children’s area or luxury lounges.
There will be qualified nurses and caregivers on site to cater to what is traditionally known as independent, assisted, frail, and memory care.
Novick says he likes being involved in “disruptive” offerings, with an underlying taste for hospitality – whether it’s air travel, hotels, or senior living. But he ensures he teams up with experts with an understanding of a particular field and market.
With life expectancy increasing, he saw a gap in the provision of senior living in terms of offering “real hospitality” – catering for day-to-day living and nursing care as well as food and beverage options. “The market luxury senior living sector has grown significantly on the back of people living longer and needing a secure community environment as opposed to living on their own,” he explains.
Circle Senior Living was planned with a suburban feel and was located centrally, so that residents could remain near to familiar areas, he says.
“This is because our research shows that people want to retire within five kilometres of where they used to live and where the community they know is situated. Many of the customers we are attracting already live close to the facilities we are developing.”
Home for life
The intention is for residents to be able to remain in their homes for the remainder of their lives, receiving additional care there as their needs change to more assisted living and later frail care, eliminating the stress of additional moves.
Corene Breedt-Rammutla, CEO and co-founder of Circle Senior Living, has been involved in the healthcare industry for more than 20 years.
“Retirement should be another chapter in your life that brings you joy. Once you’ve settled in a place you love, you shouldn’t have to worry about moving again if your health deteriorates. You should have access to the tools that keep you as independent and active for as long as possible,” she says.
She adds that “luxury” means taking care of the little things, creating a rich experience and looking at it holistically.
“The world has moved towards personalisation and choice. We built that into our financial model. We try to personalise with various options – even in the food experience we offer. It is not one size fits all,” says Breedt-Rammutla.
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