Phoenix Senior Living is planning to expand its footprint in the Southeastern United States with the help of its new joint venture partner Connexion Development. The Roswell, Georgia-based provider also is the first RIDEA partner for ReNew REIT—the real estate investment trust recently founded by senior living veteran George Chapman.
On Wednesday, Phoenix announced a new joint venture with Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina-based Connexion Development Group to add five new senior housing communities to its growing portfolio in the Southeast. In total, Phoenix currently operates 15 senior housing communities—12 of which it owns—and it has five communities under construction and five more in development.
Previously, Toledo, Ohio-based ReNew REIT—the new, privately held real estate investment trust (REIT) founded by Chapman—entered into its first RIDEA JV structure with Phoenix Senior Living, CEO Jesse Marinko told Senior Housing News. Chapman is the former CEO of “big three” real estate investment trust Health Care REIT, which is now Welltower (NYSE: WELL).
The various backgrounds of Phoenix Senior Living’s leadership team help to set it apart from other regional providers, Marinko explained.
“We’re a company founded and run by operators,” he said.
Marinko, for instance, got his start in senior living as a college intern at a community run by McLean, Virginia-based Sunrise Senior Living, one of the largest U.S. senior living operators. He worked at Sunrise from 2001 to 2010 and considers himself “one of the many Sunrise success stories,” he told SHN.
Marinko was ultimately let go from Sunrise as part of downsizing in 2010. Soon after, he was hired at Waltham, Masachusetts-based Benchmark Senior Living, an opportunity that he credits as laying the foundation for Phoenix Senior Living.
“With Benchmark, I saw the benefits of what a strong, regional player provides,” he said. At the same time, Marinko got a taste of what running a national company is like at Sunrise.
“I really got to benefit and see Sunrise in their heyday,” he said.
Phoenix’s first senior housing community became operational in July 2015. Today, the operator has standalone memory care communities, which are all branded as “The Pearl,” as well as communities that offer assisted living and memory care, most of which are dubbed “The Phoenix.”
The five communities developed in partnership with Connexion will be called “The Retreat,” and they’ll be “a little smaller than [Phoenix’s] other properties,” Marinko said.
Marinko strives to maintain a balance between acquisitions and new development, though he prefers new development—and he believes that his operational background serves him well in this regard.
“When we approach the development and design of properties, it’s not a with a developer-density mindset, but an operator-efficiency mindset,” Marinko said.
Written by Mary Kate Nelson