South Bay’s $1B Senior Housing Pipeline Sets Stage For West Coast Expansion

South Bay Partners has built over 10,000 senior living units across the country since its founding in 1994. But the Dallas-based senior housing developer’s current pipeline may signal its most ambitious phase yet: South Bay has nearly 2,000 units under construction or in the design and development phase, with a total capitalization of over $1 billion

Last week, South Bay and its development partner, LAMB Properties, closed on the purchase of two parcels totaling 2.72 acres in Woodland Hills, California, and will break ground in Spring 2019 on The Variel, an eight-story, 338-unit senior housing development. It is slated to include 215 independent living units, 94 assisted living units and 29 memory care units, within walking distance of master-planned neighborhood Warner Center.

The Variel will serve as the launch point for a West Coast expansion, South Bay Partners SVP of Development/Finance Patrick McGonigle told Senior Housing News. On these West Coast projects, South Bay is working with West Bay Senior Living, an Orange County operator. West Bay CEO Jim Biggs spent 23 years at Life Care Services (LCS), the third-largest manager of senior living and retirement communities in the U.S., where he oversaw the operations of 23 communities on the West Coast. Last year, Biggs completed a six-year stint as managing director of a senior housing management company in China.

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‘We want to be on the west coast’

The senior housing landscape and market fundamentals are ideal for South Bay to plant roots in the West Coast, McGonigle said. In addition to the Variel, the firm will formally announce next week the acquisition of another site in Irvine, California, where it will build a 370-unit community. From there, South Bay will look for opportunities in northern California, Oregon and Washington.

“We’re seeing a limited amount of independent living units in California,” McGonigle said. “We know people are living healthier, longer, and may want to stay in independent living longer. As people age in place, we want to have the full continuum of care in place.”

The Variel’s amenities package reveals signs of what is to come with South Bay’s West Coast expansion, Biggs told SHN. Plans call for over 50,000 square feet of common space, with a robust therapeutic and recreational activities program, a swimming pool and rec room and a food and beverage program that Biggs said will offer ample choices while also catering to seniors’ dietary needs.

“The amenities will be localized to capture the flavor of L.A.,” Biggs said.

West Bay is also looking into developing a Medicare Advantage program, which Biggs believes holds plenty of opportunities.

“We’re intrigued by the ability to address post-acute care and deliver those services, with costs built into the fees,” he said. “It will allow us to streamline the billing process, and there are cost efficiencies for residents.”

Leading with independent living

Independent living is the linchpin behind South Bay’s development strategy. The firm looks for high barrier to entry markets where it knows independent living is sustainable, and can also support assisted living and memory care.

South Bay looks for opportunities in the top 50 MSAs, and its projects usually typically consist of 200 independent living units and 100 assisted living and memory care units. Other developments in South Bay’s pipeline include Ovation at Riverwalk, a 260-unit community in Plainsboro, New Jersey; Upper Dublin, a 250-unit community in Amber, Pennsylvania; and Discovery Village at Sanhill, a 286-unit community in Columbia, South Carolina.

In South Bay’s other markets, the developer works with operating partners such as Springfield, Pennsylvania-based SageLife Senior Living, Integrated Senior Living in Southlake, Texas, and Bonita Springs, Florida-based Discovery Senior Living.

South Bay completed The Carrington at Lincolnwood, a 383-unit development in suburban Chicago, last July. The projects under development are expected to be completed by 2022, McGonigle said.

Written by Chuck Sudo

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