“It’s an idea whose time has come.”
That’s Tom Schwarz’s summation of the “coup” he recently pulled off, getting approval for a retirement community on the campus of Purchase College at SUNY. After eight years of banging on doors in Albany, Schwarz has come a step closer to a unique “annuity program” that can fuel the college for years to come.
The State approval will allow the college to lease 40 acres of unencumbered land to a yet-to-be-selected developer, who would build and operate a complex of some 250 housing units for senior citizens. What makes it an “annuity program” is that proceeds from the rental income would go to the college to fund scholarships, which in turn will fuel tuition income and enable the college to retain and attract the most distinguished faculty.
Imagine what it would be like to retire on the grounds of Purchase College – take a hike each day to the Neuberger Museum, refresh your history smarts at an afternoon class, see a show at night at the Performing Arts Center, keep young at heart mingling with the students, and sleep under the stars at one of the premier campuses in the county.
“College towns make the perfect retirement communities,” says Schwarz, “because they provide the access to the arts and education.” Sound like a little bit of heaven?
Well, according to Schwarz, heaven is only five years away. That’s how long it may take him and his trustee team, including Eugene Grant, Carl Austin, Bob Weinberger and Bob Feder to turn the plan into actual apartments.
And once those retirees move in, watch out for President Schwarz. He may become the poster child of college philanthropy with his on-premises cheering section, which can’t help but become the college’s future endowment. And what about preparing all those young people for jobs in the arts?
“Artists create jobs for non-artists in movies, TV and other industries,” says Schwarz. “For most artists, however, it’s a hard life, but there is no other life.”
If you’re interested in one of these senior housing apartments, please get in line behind me…and Tom Schwarz!