Mansions Senior Living parlayed a unique multifamily operating model into a successful entrance to senior living.
Now the Edmond, Oklahoma-based owner and provider is focusing on increasing its presence in one of the hottest construction markets in the United States, while modernizing the buildings that allowed Mansions to establish its footprint, founder and CEO Kim Davis told Senior Housing News.
Mansions owns and operates nine communities in Oklahoma and suburban Atlanta: two independent living communities in Oklahoma City; one standalone independent living community in Decatur; and three campuses in Alpharetta, Peachtree Corners and Lawrenceville, offering independent living, assisted living and memory care.
From extended stay to independent living
Like many developers that made the move to senior living, Davis started by building multifamily apartments throughout the Oklahoma City market, with a specific emphasis on extended stay communities.
Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers Airport is home to the Federal Aviation Administration training academy. This created a need for temporary workforce housing for new FAA hires and management visiting the academy for training. Davis’ apartment communities offered extended stay packages for these trainees, with a variety of meal and housekeeping services depending on price and length of stay.
Davis immediately saw the operational parallels between the extended stay model and independent living, and began studying the senior living space more in depth.
“[Extended stay] gave us a chance to get our feet wet before committing to senior housing,” he said.
The FAA’s move to offering more courses online — reducing the need for housing at the training facility — was another contributing factor in Davis’ move to senior housing when he formed Mansions in 1999. The company focused solely on independent living, and eventually built four communities in the Oklahoma City market before turning its sights on another rapidly growing market.
Mansions entered the Atlanta market in 2013, years before it would become a hotbed of commercial real estate activity. Some of Davis’ relatives were seeing success building in the market and, drawn to the then-untapped potential to build scale, decided to expand its care levels to assisted living and memory care, in addition to independent living.
Mansions decided to bring in an operating partner for its assisted living and memory care levels: Heritage Senior Living. The Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based provider is certified in Positive Approach to Care, a personalized approach to dementia care focusing on the individual needs of patients through therapy and exercise.
Atlanta is now one of the most competitive senior housing construction markets in the country, according to a recent Marcus & Millichap report, with nearly 3,100 new units under construction. This has placed pressure on newer developers and operators to offer steep concessions in order to fill their buildings. So far, Mansions has held firm on concessions for new residents, and limited the amount of rate increases for existing tenants in order to maintain a competitive advantage.
“Any time there is overbuilding, there are some pressures to use concessions to fill newer buildings and you wonder if providers can keep their promises to the residents,” Davis said.
Next steps for growth
Mansions is looking for new development opportunities in Atlanta, but does not want to force growth, Davis told SHN. Meanwhile, it is applying some of the lessons it has learned building in Georgia to renovating its Oklahoma City communities.
Mansions plans to modernize the lighting in its Oklahoma communities with new fixtures, LED and soft lighting, which are more energy efficient while improving the circadian rhythms of residents. The company also installed Touchtown technology in its communities to broadcast events and updates to residents, and keep them informed of happenings.
From an operational perspective, the provider is launching “happy hours” in its Oklahoma communities after they proved popular in Georgia.
Mansions is looking for new development opportunities in Atlanta, but is being patient with its due diligence for target markets, and may consider acquisitions in the future, depending on availability and price point.
The company is also interested in adding assisted living and memory care to its Oklahoma footprint, but would need to partner with a provider and determine how it wants to expand in Georgia before making a commitment, Davis said.
“There are opportunities [in Oklahoma] but we’ve been so busy in Georgia that we can’t catch our breath,” Davis said.