Home is the Destination for Boomer Generation

December 2002

Copper caps Las Vegas showcase for aging have-it-alls

As spas go, this one truly defines luxurious living. It has a "wellness center," a Club Room, billiards and wine rooms, individual "his and her" offices, a kitchen designed for catered entertaining, 10 baths plus a guest suite, limestone floors, gleaming copper and tile roofs and an indoor sport court.

You don't need a membership at this club, however. It's your own home-or it could be, if you count yourself among the multitude of aging Baby Boomers who have earned enough over the years to afford this kind of luxury. And according to industry research, there is no shortage of Americans approaching retirement with sufficient wealth to buy ultra-upscale "empty nester" homes.

Called "homeDestinations," this 10,000 square-foot showcase was designed to demonstrate innovative building and home products, along with new concepts in residential living. It was built to coincide with the annual International Builders Show, held in Las Vegas in January. Thousands of building professionals were expected to tour the home while it was open for display.

Like many sponsors, the Copper Development Association was eager to participate because of the impact the so-called Baby Boom generation will have on housing in the years ahead.

"Ever since they began buying homes, Boomers have exerted enormous influence on the housing market," explains CDA spokesman Ken Geremia. "They worked hard for what they've earned, and they understand quality. They want high-value home products like copper that ensure long-term, maintenance-free performance, and that also make a statement of good judgment about the homeowner."

By far the biggest bulge in U.S. population is the so-called Baby Boom generation born between 1945 and 1964. Members of this group are just beginning to move into their retirement years, a trend that will continue until around 2010. According to a Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies report cited by the developers, the median net worth of Boomers is double that of the national average.

"This is a generation raised to expect customization in every major purchase," says a spokesman for the project's principal sponsor, Builder magazine. "Their wealth, expectations and sheer numbers are sure to transform luxury housing."

Included among the many convenience features in the house-an assemblage of interconnected structures that resembles a miniature village-are master-bedroom kitchenettes, dumbwaiters for shuttling laundry and food between floors, centralized electronic controls for all house functions and a full-screen theater in the Club Room. After the convention, the house is expected to be sold at an estimated price of $5 million to $6 million.

The CDA contributed all of the copper sheet for the roofing, gutters and flashing, as well as plumbing materials for the project. "Everything in this house is top-shelf and designed to last," adds Geremia. "The copper plumbing, for example, and all the other copper products in the home will still be in service long after the original owners-and possibly even their children-have moved on."