NBA Player Gets Into the Senior Housing Development Game

A veteran NBA player with famous connections is recruiting other players to invest in senior housing real estate in the Midwest.

Springfield, Missouri-based Say You Can is a real estate development company established by owner Kelly Byrne and current Detroit Pistons player Anthony Tolliver in early 2009 and, until recently, was primarily focused on multi-family and student housing projects. Now, the firm has begun expanding into 55+ housing, with immediate plans to build for-rent villas in Nixa, Missouri, and an approximately 150-unit 55+ apartment building in Omaha, Nebraska. 

The pivot from student housing to senior housing wasn’t necessarily difficult, and made sense, according to Tolliver.


“We wanted to continue to make sure we stayed relevant and were doing things that made sense,” Tolliver told Senior Housing News. “We felt like student housing game was getting a bit crowded.”

Byrne, Tolliver’s friend since childhood, echoed that sentiment. 

“What we’re doing in senior housing isn’t that complex,” Byrne explained. “In Missouri, it’s independent, for-rent villas that we’re currently developing, with amenities and a club house.”


Similarly, the community in Omaha will have no health care services, but it will be “pretty heavy” on the amenities, “which allows us to compete with the independent living product [in Omaha], but at a cheaper price point,” Byrne said.

Say You Can found that there are a lot of independent living and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) options in Omaha, but there weren’t too many 55+ rental communities.

“We’re tailoring [the project] to Omaha and what they need,” Byrne said.

Recommended SHN+ Exclusives

In terms of anticipated outcome, Say You Can is hoping to build something impressive.

“We want to build something that we’re proud to put our names on. We want to make [the amenities] top-notch,” Tolliver explained.

Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2019.

Tolliver is not the first NBA personality to make a foray into senior housing. In 2016, for instance, former NBA player Brian Scalabrine partnered with Village Concepts to build a community on his land in Des Moines, Washington.

Tolliver has played in the NBA since 2010, and has brought other NBA players on to Say You Can projects as investing partners. The company was unwilling to share the names of the other players with Senior Housing News, though reports that one of the investors in Say You Can student housing projects is current NBA superstar Stephen Curry.

“Honestly it makes perfect sense for people like us—not just players, but anybody that makes a decent living and has extra income—to invest in real estate,” Tolliver said. “If you have income that you don’t need at the moment, to me, there’s not really a much better situation than real estate.”

Right now, many of Say You Can’s development projects are located in Missouri because Byrne and Tolliver know the area well.

“We’ve lived here our entire lives—we know what areas worked and what areas did not,” Tolliver explained.

It’s likely that Say You Can will develop more senior housing projects in the future, and that they’ll expand their geographic reach, Tolliver reckoned.

“We really like the model,” he said. “If we get it up and running and it fills up like we expect it to, I think it will be more so finding the right fit around the country.”

Say You Can is venturing into the 55+ market at a time when the so-called “active adult” product is gaining momentum—and is considered a real competitor for traditional independent living communities.

“I think the 55-plus apartments definitely are going to take away from the traditional independent living package, mostly because it is going to be lower-cost,” Dr. Margaret Wylde, CEO of ProMatura Group, told Senior Housing News earlier this year.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

Companies featured in this article: