Martha Stewart Assisted Living Brand Could Take Shape Under Marquee Venture

The “Goddess of Domesticity” wants a piece of the senior housing space.

Marquee Brands, the owner of the Martha Stewart Living brand, is partnering with global real estate branding firm Brands Lab International to develop real estate projects — potentially including assisted living — under the Stewart brand.

The news was first reported on real estate trade journal The Real Deal; Brands Lab International founder and CEO Florian Haffa confirmed to Senior Housing News that assisted living will be among the product types the venture is pursuing.

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Headquartered in New York City, Marquee Brands owns lifestyle brands including men’s fashion brand Ben Sherman, shoemaker Bruno Magli, outdoor clothing company Dakine, and watersports apparel maker Body Glove.

Miami-based Brands Lab International works as a facilitator between luxury brands and real estate developers to bring brand design aesthetics to high-end real estate projects around the world.

Marquee Brands acquired the brands of Stewart and celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse in April from Sequential Brands Group in a $175 million deal; Sequential Brands stands to earn another $40 million if the brands meet performance targets. Sequential bought the then-Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for $355 million in 2015, but the collapse of its main licensee Kmart and continued fallout from Stewart’s 2004 conviction for insider trading sent the company’s value plummeting to where Marquee was able to acquire it at a premium.

Still, Haffa believes Stewart’s name retains enough marketability to make the venture into real estate successful. In addition to assisted living, Brands Lab International is in talks with developers on a wide range of products including single family homes, condos, townhomes and mixed-use communities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Stewart will be involved in the design plans for all projects stemming from the venture.

Haffa did not identify specific developers, target markets or product types to SHN.

If the venture proves successful, Stewart would be the second notable celebrity to establish a senior housing brand. Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Holdings partnered with Minto Communities USA and St. Joe (NYSE: JOE) to develop active adult communities under the Latitude Margaritaville banner. To date, two Margarita Latitude communities are in operation in Daytona Beach, Florida and Hilton Head, South Carolina. A third community is under development in Bay County, Florida.

Celebrities and premium brand names have also been increasingly attached to multifamily projects. Oprah Winfrey’s “happiness guru” Deepak Chopra designed units in a Miami property that is right across the street from Porsche Tower, affiliated with the car brand.

Last year, an SHN op-ed proposed that Martha Stewart would make for a logical celebrity-driven senior living brand.

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