How to Convert a Hotel to Senior Independent Living

by Truell Bliss; Updated September 26, 2017

Repurposing an existing hotel for use as senior independent living involves knowing exactly what future residents will need in order to live efficiently and comfortably. Rehabilitating an existing building and making new residences for seniors creates new jobs, improves the local tax revenue base and brightens community spirit and the local economy. When completed, each occupied unit will become lovingly referred to as "my place" by new residents and provide a favored place to visit for friends and relatives.

Items you will need

  • Government approval
  • Building permits
  • Existing building plans
  • New architectural plans
  • General contractor
  • Project manager
  • Start and completion dates
  • Funding
  • Certification for occupancy

Prepare a Clear and Concise Plan

Step 1

After receiving government approval and building permits, collaborate with the general contractor and your project manager to formulate an action plan, incorporating principles from both the original and new plans. All parties involved in the conversion project share concepts found in the 2006 International Building Code and its reference to requirements of independent living. Keep the plan simple. Emphasize the start date, completion (or finish) date and budget constraints. On the actual job site, in a conspicuous location, post the name and contact number of the project manager.

Step 2

Launch each workday by prioritizing the labor required from various trades. The project manager will motivate and maximize work produced by being on site daily. Implement personnel changes as quickly as possible to keep the job on schedule and within budget.

Step 3

Anticipate visits from code inspectors. Schedule code inspections during times the project manager will be present; the results of your code inspections will indicate the level to which your workers are performing.

Step 4

Check the job site frequently, unannounced. Review the quantity and quality of work, and determine whether or not the project is proceeding on schedule. Communicate your findings to the project manger.

Step 5

Conduct a "punch list" walk-through with the general contractor and the project manager. Evaluate work completed, and highlight work that remains unfinished. Reinforce the importance of completing the project on or before the targeted date.

Step 6

When your team has completed the job, apply for a certificate of occupancy.

Step 7


  • Take the recommendations of a senior care specialist into consideration before and during the conversion process.


  • Expect cost overruns of at least 25 percent of initial budget.

    Plan on lengthening completion deadline by up to 60 days.

About the Author

Truell Bliss retired from the restaurant and hospitality industry after almost a lifetime of service. An officer in the American Culinary Federation, he earned his dietary manager certification and progressed into positions as chef instructor, chef manager, dining services operations manager and finally, director of food service.

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