Discovery Senior Living Names First COO in Wake of Sizable Deals

Discovery Senior Living is adding to its executive leadership by naming its first COO, the latest move in a period of rapid growth for the Bonita Springs, Florida-based company.

Discovery hired Bill Sciortino for the newly created role. He was most recently in the same role at Chicago-based luxury senior living developer, owner and operator Vi Living, and held several leadership roles during his 18 years with the company.

VI Living was founded in 1987 by Penny Pritzker, one of the heirs of the Hyatt hotels founders and a former Commerce Secretary under President Barack Obama, and is known for its high-end, hospitality-driven approach to senior living.

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Discovery’s portfolio includes 57 communities in 14 states totaling over 9,500 units, over half of it independent living and senior apartments.

In Sciortino, Discovery is adding an experienced executive during a busy period for the company. Discovery has been on a growth trajectory in 2019, and working closely with health care real estate investment trusts, including Irvine, California-based HCP (NYSE: HCP), Toledo, Ohio-based Welltower (NYSE: WELL) and Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based National Health Investors (NYSE: NHI).

In May, Discovery sold nine senior housing properties to HCP for $445 million, and HCP is providing Discovery with up to $40 million of junior financing on four new properties representing 724 units and set to be developed and operated by Discovery.

Discovery and NHI agreed to a $128.4 million joint venture in June to acquire six properties in Indiana, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The company also expanded its relationship with Welltower via a $237 million acquisition of three senior housing campuses in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas markets, as well as an exclusive, $1 billion development deal.

Sciortino will lead and focus continuing efforts to drive innovation and deliver a more customized, resident-centric lifestyle experience, the company said in a statement.

Sciortino echoed those sentiments.

“I am excited to be joining a forward-looking organization like Discovery Senior Living, a company that is embracing and leading the change while providing enormous value for its residents, investors, and team members,” he said.

Discovery is looking to expand the active adult segment of its senior housing business, CEO Richard Hutchinson told SHN in April. The company is vertically integrated with a Medicare-certified home health care agency, a design firm, a marketing company, and a newly launched therapy service line.

Hutchinson believes senior living is at an inflection point where the future of the industry is in a customized end user experience, and Discovery is taking steps to meet that demand by creating a flex lifestyle plan in its communities where future residents can enter the market at lower price points.

“We know [baby boomers] want optionality. We know they want customization. We know they only want to pay for the things they want to pay for,” he said. “As an industry, we have to get away from the silo of the underlying service component, that’s going away.”

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