The Shelter Group Exits Affordable Housing in Favor of Senior Living

Baltimore, Maryland-based The Shelter Group is bowing out of the affordable-housing sector, instead shifting its focus on to growing its Brightview Senior Living portfolio.

Founded in 1977, The Shelter Group is a privately held real estate development and property management firm, specializing in multi-family and senior living communities. The group recently sold 43 of its affordable housing properties to Baltimore-based affordable housing management company, Enterprise Homes, which currently has a portfolio of 4,153 affordable housing units across the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas.

The deal closed on August 1, Jeffrey Hettleman, executive vice president and CFO of The Shelter Group and Brightview Senior Living, told Senior Housing News. The sale price was not disclosed.

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The company’s Brightview portfolio consists of 35 senior living communities, and encompasses independent living, assisted living and dementia care.

Though affordable housing had been a part of The Shelter Group’s portfolio for some time, its shift on to focusing entirely on Brightview stems from the portfolio’s growth in size, as well as the company’s mission to be more service-oriented, explained Hettleman.

“As Brightview has grown, the two businesses have become different and really served different populations,” he said. “Brightview had gotten so much larger, in terms of people, and it operates around the clock, and senior living is much more service intensive that the challenges of doing that well and maintaining our culture required us to really focus on that part of our business.”

The growth in Brightview’s size is evident—there are roughly 3,600 employees that work for the brand, compared to the 175 employees in The Shelter Group’s former affordable-housing portfolio. These 175 employees have been absorbed by Enterprise Homes, forming that organization’s first-ever management company, according to Hettleman.

Hettleman explained that The Shelter Group is now committed to a growth plan of opening four to five new Brightview communities per year. Considering the projects in its pipeline, the company is well on track to accomplishing this goal in 2017.

“We are well capitalized and are committed to having the financial structure going forward to support our growth and the business that we’re committed to,” he said.

According to Hettleman, there are six Brightview communities under construction across Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Additionally, the company will begin construction on three communities this year: Brightview Shelton in Connecticut; Brightview Bethesda-Woodmont in Maryland; and Brightview Sayville in New York.

Overall, The Shelter Group’s shift in focus allows it to not only refine its goals for Brightview, but to also build upon the success it has established for itself, according to Hettleman.

“Given the number of [employees] and our growth plan, it’s important that we’re able to focus on this business, particularly around ensuring that we do the highest quality job possible, and that we maintain that culture so that growth does not come at the expense of quality,” he said.

Written by Carlo Calma

Editors note: a previous version of this article stated Brightview Shelton in Connecticut; Brightview Bethesda-Woodmont in Maryland; and Brightview Sayville in New York were finishing construction which is incorrect. 

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