With neighbors like the La Costa Resort and Spa, a Four Seasons resort, and the upscale Rancho Santa Fe development, it's no surprise that La Costa Glen looks more like a vacation destination than a retirement community. But don't be fooled by all the palm trees and miles of gentle walkways. A lot of hard work went into making this 25-acre, park-like preserve really serve its over-55 clientele.

Continuing Life Communities, which developed the property, enlisted the help of the KTGY Group in Irvine, Calif., to carry out the major up-front tasks including land planning, designing 522 living units, and executing all the common areas. "At KTGY, we have a total of 10 teams with each team specializing in a specific building type," says David Ho, part of the group that designs high-density projects. "La Costa Glen was a great effort by three of our teams, plus the landscape architect [Ron Izumita] happened to be a part of our office at the time, so the whole development became very efficient."

Continuing-care contracts mean active adults at La Costa Glen can start out in a two- or three-bedroom detached villa or in one of several different apartment plans. As health needs change, owners can ease into assisted-living areas. Alzheimer's care is also assured.

"From a facilities point of view, people think of continuing care as having independent living facilities, assisted living, and skilled nursing," says Rick Aschenbrenner, CEO of Continuing Life Communities based in Carlsbad, Calif. "But we think of it from a product point of view, first as a great place to live, and second, as a large package of services, activities, and amenities. We wanted a project that senior citizens throughout the region would appreciate, and that would come up to the standards of Carlsbad and the neighboring resorts."

Categories: Assisted living (grand); Active adult community (grand); Entrant/Architect/Land Planner: KTGY Group, Irvine, Calif.; Builder/Developer: Continuing Life Communities, Carlsbad, Calif.; Landscape Architect: IMA Design, Irvine; Interior Designers: Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates, Marina del Rey, Calif.; Arthur Shuster Inc., St. Paul, Minn.

People Movers

Great amenities don't mean a thing if you can't get residents to visit them. That's one reason the two miles of walkways at La Costa Glen were constructed with a gentle 5 percent slope, which makes going from the koi pond to the hummingbird garden to the boccie-ball court a little easier. "It was vital for us to get people to move through the community," says landscape architect Jim Keenan of IMA Design in Irvine, Calif. "The developer wants us to try to keep these people healthy."

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.