Mike Williams recently bought a recreational vehicle, for practical reasons.
“Now I have a place to sleep when I visit our communities,” the founder and CEO of English Meadows Senior Living Communities told Senior Housing News.
Williams and his RV will continue to add mileage for the foreseeable future. The Christianburg, Virginia-based owner-operator has been in growth mode for much of 2019.
In February, English Meadows and Westlake Village, California-based health care real estate investment trust (REIT) LTC Properties entered into a $17 million sale-leaseback agreement for English Meadows Abingdon, a 74-unit assisted living and memory care community in Abingdon, Virginia. English Meadows retained a 5% ownership stake in, and continues operating the property.
English Meadows also acquired Mountainside Senior Living Communities, an affordable assisted living and memory care community in Crozet, Virginia, and acquired English Meadows Blackburg Campus in Blackburg, Virginia, in July. Its portfolio now totals nine communities, and is expected to expand to 14 by the end of the year, Williams said.
English Meadows wants to expand its mid-Atlantic footprint, and Williams’ RV trips are a solid indicator of where it wants to grow. The firm is pursuing acquisition opportunities in Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, is negotiating sale-leasebacks with two more properties in its existing portfolio, and recently completed renovations on three other campuses.
“Ideally, we want our communities to be within a four to five-hour drive” from the central office, Williams said.
English Meadows is looking to partner with groups such as LTC that are looking for operators with proven track records and a solid understanding of market dynamics and stabilized operations, on a clear growth-oriented trajectory.
The shift of the Mountainside community to a pure private pay model is also coming along. The existing units are split between private pay and affordable allotments, an operational model which will stay in place under the terms of the sale, as long as the underlying affordable funding is in place.
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But the provider has no plans to expand the affordable housing component, which will allow it to push rates as the funding agreement winds down and bring Mountainside in alignment with the rest of English Meadows’ portfolio.
The overall growth trajectory will also allow English Meadows to bring in economies of scale, establish operational efficiencies and give it an advantage in recruitment and retention. However, the company does have limits in terms of its ultimate size.
“We have no desire to expand beyond the area we’re already in, and we want to serve that area well,” Williams said.