Frontier Management is betting on careful, methodical growth to help it hit 100 communities by 2020.
The Portland, Oregon-based company is growing its footprint in California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Nevada, Tennessee and even Hawaii, according to Greg Roderick, the senior housing provider’s president and CEO.
“I’m turning 50 in a couple of weeks, so it’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter, at this point,” Roderick told Senior Housing News. “Really, I’m creating new properties that are going to carry the company far beyond me.”
Frontier Management, which has 80 communities spread across a dozen states, has made a name for itself in recent years as a forward-thinking senior housing company. Perhaps most notably, the provider teaches some of its residents how to brew their own beer—an endeavor that has helped boost resident engagement and occupancy.
Smarter, not harder
Frontier’s overall expansion strategy is to build independent living, assisted living and memory care properties in geographic areas where it is already operating. To achieve that, the provider is partnering with established developers—such as Dallas-based Caddis Partners and Birmingham, Alabama-based LIV Development—who have extensive knowledge of certain local markets.
“We’ll only go to a market that we actually believe is going to be successful based on demographics, and it’s got to be in markets where we’re already in or around,” Roderick said. “[Our partners] have the contacts and expertise, and they’ve developed in these areas before.”
The planned communities will come with upscale amenities such as outdoor swimming pools, luxurious bars, multiple dining venues, theaters and fitness centers with all the latest workout equipment.
“I do think socialization, fitness and dining, will remain the three biggest focal points going forward,” Roderick said. “The baby boomers… are very well-traveled. They also understand better than any generation before them the benefits of eating right, exercising and staying social.”
Building for the masses
Average development costs range from $17 million to $60 million per project, while the number of units in a new community might lie anywhere between 150 and 400. One in California is planned to have more than 700. Generally, residents can expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000 per month to live in one of Frontier’s new communities.
“I want to give the residents a wonderful value, a beautiful community, make a reasonable profit, and I want to appeal to as much of the larger mass as much as possible,” Roderick explained. “We’re trying to keep our rates in the upper-middle range.”
The provider is also circling back and renovating some of its older properties. Last year alone, Frontier spent $4.5 million on capital improvements, Roderick said.
“We’ve gone in there and sizzled them up,” Roderick said. “We’re bringing in baby grand pianos, bringing in a far nicer vehicle than the old ones. We’re also adding nicer lounges… and finer fitness areas.”
If all goes according to plan, Frontier will hit about 125 communities nationwide before Roderick pumps the brakes on expansion.
“I’m hoping to not be much bigger than 125, ever,” Roderick said. “[When that happens,] we might package up two, three or four of the older communities at a time and sell those off, or find another operator to manage them for us.”
Written by Tim Regan