After Developing Near Disney, LCS and Big Rock Target Kiawah Island

A senior housing developer known for a high-end project near Walt Disney World has now set its sights on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Florida-based Big Rock Partners is planning to build a $125 million, “highly amenitized” senior housing rental community in the island’s Freshfields Village. The 200-unit building, which is scheduled to break ground in the fourth quarter of this year, will have a mix of independent living, assisted living and memory care apartments.

The yet-to-be-named community is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.


The Kiawah Island community represents Big Rock’s second venture with Des Moines, Iowa-based Life Care Services, which will operate the community once it’s open. The first—Windsor at Celebration in Celebration, Florida—is expected to look and feel like a five-star resort, as well as conjure up some “Disney Magic.”

The project in Kiawah is right in Big Rock’s wheelhouse, Senior Managing Partner Richard Ackerman told Senior Housing News.

“We’re doing unique, one-off developments,” Ackerman said, adding that the company exclusively does deals off-market.


Like the project in Celebration, the development on Kiawah Island places senior housing near a major resort. In this case, it’s the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which is arguably a Disney World for golfers. It features 90 holes on multiple courses designed by golf legends such as Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, and is scheduled to play host to the 2021 PGA Championship.

Big Rock was chosen as the community’s developer after a Kiawah Island homeowner connected the island’s master developer, Kiawah Partners, and told them about Big Rock.

“Their pipeline was right in line with the quality we’d want on Kiawah,” Chris Randolph, partner at Kiawah Partners, told SHN. Currently, the nearest senior housing community for Kiawah residents is about 10 miles away, and the firm decided it was time to offer older residents an option on the island.

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The upcoming community is set to have multiple pools, a state-of-the-art fitness facility with a yoga studio, several food and beverage options, and a movie theater.

Going forward, Big Rock intends to build more senior housing communities that have plentiful amenities, but they might be located in more urban settings, Ackerman said.

In late 2017, Big Rock completed an initial public offering for Big Rock Acquisition Corporation (Nasdaq: BRPAU), a special purpose acquisition corporation, with the hopes of purchasing an existing senior housing operator and its owned real estate.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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