Developer Takes Alternative Approach to $500 Million Senior Living Pipeline

A senior housing developer with already $200 million of new construction under development plans to kick that investment up a notch to the tune of $500 million worth of new projects in the pipeline.

That is the plan for Chicago-based Bright Oaks Group, which currently has four assisted living and memory care projects in the works for its home state with another seven planned for Florida and across the Southeast.

“We see a good opportunity to bring new products to the [Florida] market, ones that not only address the needs of the market, but also offer something different in terms of quality and service,” says Bright Oaks Group CEO Nader Kameli.


Floridian markets in which the company plans to develop include West Palm Beach, Wildwood and Fort Myers—the last two of which have each undergone zoning and planning stages and are set to break ground this fall, Kameli says. Bright Oaks is looking to build the remainder of its seven planned projects on the state’s eastern coast.

On average, the company’s “sweet spot” is developing projects that feature bout 100 units per community, Kameli says, however, the total number will depend on the available need that exists in certain markets.

Bright Oaks Group is firm on not building its properties larger than 180-200 units, as a structure that large would negate the residential feel the company aspires to create.


“A product that large requires different management. Instead, we’re trying to offer more of a home-like service, not one that is modeled after hospitality,” Kameli says. “People want to live in a space that’s more personalized and cozy. When you go larger, the community loses its personal touch.”

The company’s project in Wood Dale, Ill. is the closest development that nears its no-build-zone. Located 24 miles east of Chicago in DuPage County, project plans for the Wood Dale development detail a 160,000 square-foot community consisting of 160 units.

Though construction is not likely to be completed until May 2016, Wood Dale is the largest of Bright Oaks Group’s other developments, which range in the 100,000 square-feet ballpark.

In Illinois, other Bright Oaks projects currently under construction or have set groundbreaking dates include locations in Aurora, Elgin and Fox Lake. The Aurora community is slated to be complete this November with a grand opening planned for January.

Construction for the Elgin property is ongoing with a completion anticipated nine months from now in April or May 2015, while Fox Lake is set to begin construction this October-November, Kameli says. Additionally, the company has another community currently in zoning phases for West Dundee, Ill.

Bright Oaks Group plans to introduce a new memory care living concept at all of the communities it develops.

Dubbed “The Bridge,” the concept enables couples to continue to live together, even when one needs memory-related care. An apartment that is integrated into a building’s memory care community, The Bridge lets couples live independently within that particular secured wing.

Written by Jason Oliva

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