Ladies and gentlemen, Feb. 22 marks National Margarita Day. What better way to celebrate than by reading about how “Margaritaville” musician Jimmy Buffett is bringing his unique vibe—and brand power—to the senior housing space?
The story begins in the fall of 2016. That’s when Minto Group, a real estate development and property management company based in Ottawa, Canada, was about to break ground on its new brand of active adult communities.
Dubbed “Oasis,” the brand would launch with the first community in Daytona Beach, Florida, and it was no small project. With an initial $1 billion build-out investment, the massive new community of 6,900 homes had earned the nickname “The Villages East”—a comparison to the mammoth 55-plus community The Villages in central Florida.
But plans changed when a mutual business contact brought Minto together with Margaritaville Holdings. That company, owned by Buffett and partner John Cohlan, is perhaps best known for its theme restaurants—but it actually has grown into what the New York Times has dubbed “an empire.” It encompasses everything from hotels and time-share resorts to bed sheets. And, now, housing for older adults.
“It became clear to both parties that we share a common goal of providing great lifestyle experiences,” Minto Group Senior Vice President William Bullock told Senior Housing News of connecting with Margaritaville Holdings. “There was a natural synergy from our very first meeting.”
Fast forward a few months, and the two companies on Feb. 16 announced that they are partnering to build Latitude Margaritaville, a 55-plus active adult mixed-use community in Daytona Beach.
This is the project that Minto already was planning under the “Oasis” brand; now, the development has been re-envisioned as a Buffett-lover’s paradise, and other Margaritaville Latitude communities are in the works as well, Bullock said.
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This first community is slated to be “golf-cart friendly” and include a fitness center, retail area, arts and learning programs, band shell for live music, private beachfront club for residents, and indoor and outdoor dining with “signature Margaritaville concepts,” according to a press release.
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“We’re the master developer and home builder, so we’ll put all the roads in, utilities, construct all the homes, build entry features, build all the amenities, we’ll staff the sales center, it’ll be all Minto employees,” Bullock said. “What’s great with Margaritaville is we’ll do all the theming in concert with them. We’re working with their designers and architects to put a Margaritaville spin on it, based on fun, music, food, and activities that active adults typically associate with that lifestyle.”
Currently, there are not plans for a senior care component, such as an assisted living center, to be built. However, Minto also has long owned Sun City Center of Tampa, the first 55-plus community Del Webb built, and so has seen how senior living companies have successfully located to adjacent areas.
“Of course we welcome them into the area,” Bullock said. “As we evolve, if we buy a deal from scratch, maybe we incorporate [assisted living] directly into the community.”
In the meantime, interested senior living companies can inquire about available real estate with Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co., the company which Minto purchased the land from in Daytona Beach, Bullock advised.
Senior living providers who see an opportunity in the Margaritaville dream might want to get a move on: the community’s sales center already is open and the first model homes are set to be open in Jan. 2018, with the first move-ins happening in the third quarter of that year.
So far, many people seem interested in searching for their lost shaker of salt in Margaritaville Latitude. No surprise there, given Buffett’s legion of fans—most of whom, the NYTimes pointed out, are baby boomers.
“It’s been honestly overwhelming,” Bullock said of interest since the partnership was announced. “We have a landing [web] page, and you can register to receive updates. We got thousands of registrations in two days.”
Written by Tim Mullaney