Silverstone Partners with Watermark Retirement on D.C. Development Push

A Dallas-based senior housing owner and developer known for high-end properties is expanding in the Washington, D.C., area, with a plan to tap Watermark Retirement Communities as its newest operator.

The developer — Silverstone Senior Living — also has ownership ties to noted wellness brand Canyon Ranch, which itself recently announced an intention to enter the senior living market.

In addition to its five communities in Texas and Florida, Silverstone has one D.C.-area community open in Woodbridge, Virginia, with three others planned or under construction in nearby Alexandria and Fairfax, Virginia; and another in Rockville, Maryland.

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All of Silverstone’s D.C. communities are aimed at attracting a higher-end crowd, with rates starting at around $7,000 per month. Planned amenities at the Fairfax community, for example, will include a wellness and fitness center, salon, community activity room, art studio, game room, rooftop terrace and multiple dining venues.

The three projects under construction or soon to start work in the area represent more than $250 million worth of investments from Silverstone.

And Silverstone isn’t done there. The company also has three D.C.-area projects in the pipeline, all part of an increasing focus on the nation’s capital, according to Silverstone’s chairman and CEO, Denny Alberts.

“We’re making a big commitment as a company into D.C.,” Alberts told Senior Housing News. “We’re building our reputation there.”

To manage its growth in the affluent major market, Silverstone brought on Bobby Zeiller, a former executive vice president with real estate firm Westbrook Properties, to work as its chief development officer and to lead its D.C. office.

“Our strategy here has been to take the boutique hotel, higher-end concept [for senior living], and really find locations that are within the urban fabric or where people have established roots,” Zeiller told SHN.

Though there is plenty of senior housing in the D.C. market,  none of it fits the description of what Silverstone aims to do, Alberts said.

“There is going to be a real need for this product,” he explained. “A lot of people say they’re in the upscale market, but you look around the D.C. area, and you don’t see a lot of those a triple-A sites coming up.”

‘Leading innovators’

Silverstone has worked with Harbor Retirement Associates (HRA) to manage its previous properties in Texas, Florida and in Woodbridge. But starting in August, the company will add Watermark as its second operating partner.

In addition to managing Silverstone’s forthcoming communities in the D.C. market, Watermark will also serve as the management company for Silverstone’s flagship community, HarborChase of the Park Cities in Dallas.

Watermark, which is based in Tucson, Arizona, currently manages 58 communities in 21 states, some of which are luxury urban mid-rise communities. The senior living provider has also placed an emphasis on innovation, including by experimenting with forward-thinking operating and pricing models.

“We probably took 6 to 8 months of interviewing [operators] all over the country,” Alberts said. “We just fell in love with … Watermark. I think they’re one of the leading innovators in the industry.”

Silverstone partner John Goff is also chairman of Crescent Real Estate Equities, which owns Canyon Ranch. It remains to be seen whether the Canyon Ranch brand will be involved in the D.C. projects, but Alberts did not rule it out, and said that wellness certainly would be a key pillar of the operations.

“The concept of having a beauty, wellness and fitness program that is first class is critical to the success of our communities,” Zeiller said.

Alberts is also the former president, COO and trustee of Crescent Real Estate Equities, making collaboration between the two companies a natural fit.

“It’s the cultural approach of Canyon Ranch that’s ingrained in us. That is part of our culture and it’s part of our programming,” Alberts said. “It’s not necessarily that will there be a Canyon Ranch [component in our communities], but it’s that concept.”

Looking ahead, Silverstone will continue to grow where it makes sense in Florida and Texas in addition to its interests in D.C. The company also may expand to other markets in the Mid-Atlantic, though those plans have yet to be worked out.

“I can see our company growing to 10, 15 or 20 properties, but not 100,” Alberts said. “We’re a niche in the market. It’s a very high-quality, high-end product with top-of-the-line operators.”

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