LCS Starts to Execute on New CEO’s Agenda

Joel Nelson officially took the reins as Life Care Services president and CEO on Jan. 1, and the company is making moves on some of the top priorities he identified after being named to the position.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based company is one of the largest senior living operators in the nation, and is the largest third-party manager of continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). One of Nelson’s goals is to grow LCS’ portfolio of rental properties that it both owns and manages, he told Senior Housing News in November. 

On Jan. 10, Nelson announced that Chris Bird had been hired to lead the LCS rental division. Bird is an industry veteran, having spent seven years with Marriott Senior Living Services before moving on to Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD), where he was a division president. He is to start the LCS job in February.

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Hard on the heels of that news, LCS announced on Friday that it would be undertaking significant renovations at six Dallas-area rental communities that it recently acquired in a joint venture with ASPECT Investment Partners. The company is not disclosing any financial details of the transaction, a spokesman told SHN.

The projects are scheduled to break ground in early 2018, and will represent a multimillion dollar investment to upgrade common areas, dining venues, living units and exterior aspects of the communities, the company stated. 

LCS has managed the properties since 2014, and Nelson believes that as an owner, the company can take them to a new level.

“We’ve been somewhat limited in the improvements we could make at these communities, given we didn’t own them,” he said in a press release. “Previous investment focused on necessary infrastructure improvements, such as roofs and HVAC systems. We invested millions in those areas during the last three years, but we now have greater flexibility to make upgrades that residents will truly notice and will appeal to today’s seniors.”

The six communities offer various levels of care, from independent living to skilled nursing. They are: Autumn Leaves on White Rock Lake, Monticello West, Parkwood Retirement Community, Parkwood Healthcare Community, Signature Pointe on the Lake and Walnut Place. Autumn Leaves on White Rock Lake is not affiliated with the Autumn Leaves brand of senior living development and management company The LaSalle Group. 

By expanding its ownership stake in rental senior housing properties, Nelson believes LCS will be better situated for the future of the industry.

“I think that’s the future of what the capital markets are looking for,” he told SHN in the November interview. “The for-profit world especially is looking for the operator to have real skin in the game.” 

Written by Tim Mullaney

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