Third-party management company Leisure Care has seen its operations portfolio grow 20% in the last year with the addition of Brighton Bay, recently acquired by The Carlyle Group.
Since May 2011, Leisure Care has added eight communities to its management portfolio. Brighton Bay, a 185-unit senior living community located in Jacksonville, Fla., marks the company’s 40th location and brings the value of Leisure Care’s portfolio of managed assets to more than $1.5 billion.
The Carlyle Group acquired the Florida community from an undisclosed seller and brought in Leisure Care as its management partner, as it has now for its last three acquisitions.
Leisure Care’s growth comes at a time when many management companies are looking for ways to improve operations in light of the economic downturn, and the third-party operator has been successful so far.
“About a year ago, we decided that we wanted to really focus on growth,” says Jason Childers, a partner and senior vice president at Leisure Care. “When the economy took a hit, everyone was focusing on operations. We started getting through that, and saw our portfolio was performing well, so we decided to reach out and set a goal of about 15% growth.”
Not only did the company meet that goal in the next year, though, it exceeded it. “We hit our goals and then some,” Childers says.
Part of the portfolio’s success could be attributed to its 100% private-pay census and its composition of independent and assisted living communities, as it wasn’t subject to the Medicare reimbursement cuts that went into effect last October.
“We knew we had to be diligent and watch budgets without sacrificing resident services,” says Childers. “As an operating company, we’ve gotten really efficient. We’ve never wanted to compromise what we promise to our residents, and we haven’t had to do that.”
There was never a “silver bullet” to maintaining the portfolio, though, he says. When the economy went south, a lot of communities were offering different funding options to seniors or different incentives which, Childers says, have a tendency to escalate.
“We tried to avoid that,” he says. While Leisure Care’s sales team was able to offer a month’s free rent depending on certain residents’ situations, it wasn’t a one-size-fits-all initiative, but was based on individual circumstances.
“The sales team knew what they had to play with, and found out what was important to residents,” Childers says. “We knew we had to go above and beyond.”
With the most recent community added to Leisure Care’s management portfolio, the company will look to implement its proprietary programs and services. These include a dining program, health and wellness programming, and an in-house travel agency, says Childers, who says the management company’s services can add a lot of value to a community.
It’s not done growing, either.
“We’re still focused on growth,” he says. “We love growing with our existing partners and the relationships that we’ve built, because a lot of efficiencies and synergies are there, and it makes transitions easy and smooth.”
But, he adds, the company is “always looking for new partnerships as well.” It’s currently looking to form relationships with developers or institutional funding sources who are looking to invest in the industry through acquisitions.
Written by Alyssa Gerace