Erickson Living has big plans in Virginia, and the upcoming construction of a $300 million continuing care retirement community (CCRC) outside of Richmond is one of the linchpins.
The Catonsville, Maryland-based owner and operator will open a sales center for Avery Point in the Richmond suburb of Shore Pump, Virginia, in April 2020, Erickson Living Director of Sales Jim Antonako told Senior Housing News.
Avery Point will include 1,160 independent living units, 120 assisted living units, 60 memory care units and 60 skilled nursing beds. Construction of the CCRC’s first phase — two residential buildings containing 200 independent living units and a main commons building — are set to begin shortly after the sales center opens. All told, the plans call for 14 buildings to be constructed across 94 acres.
Erickson, which ranked seventh on industry association Argentum’s 2019 list of the nation’s largest senior living providers, has an active development pipeline in Virginia. The operator has another CCRC in development, Erickson at Braddock in Fairfax County. Along with two other CCRCs — Greenspring in Springfield and Ashby Ponds in Ashburn — Erickson is poised to become the largest senior housing provider in Virginia.
Avery Point and Braddock are part of a new development pipeline valued at nearly $2 billion over the next five years. Erickson’s portfolio includes 19 communities totaling more than 21,000 units in Colorado, Florida, Kansas, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, Michigan and North Carolina.
Favorable population trends
Avery Point’s location is a mile west of Shore Pump Town Center and a 15-minute drive from downtown Richmond, which has been in a growth mode for most of the 2010s. Richmond’s population has grown 12% — nearly 24,500 people — since 2020, with people moving to Virginia’s capital city accounting for nearly 64% of that growth, U.S. Census Bureau data showed. The 65-and-over age group accounts for 12.1% of Richmond’s total population.
“There are some CCRCs in the market that are doing well, and our research suggests there will be a greater demand for senior housing. We’re well situated to attract people who want to be near the Shore Pump area,” Antonakos said.
Erickson believes that Avery Point’s size will give it an advantage over other CCRCs in the market. The size allows for economies of scale in operations.
Other CCRCs in the Richmond market are a mix of older properties and newer communities that aren’t as large as Avery Point. In nearby Goochland, Resort Lifestyle Communities paid about $3 million for a 39-acre plot where the company is planning a 130-unit development.
To meet future demand, several of the older communities are undergoing renovation and expansion projects, while Erickson enters the market as a self-funded developer with financial stability, Antonakos noted.
Monthly rates are still being settled, but Erickson expects entrance fees to start in the $200,000 range, with 80% of that refundable if someone chooses to leave or dies. Erickson is also weighing a non-refundable option. Avery Point’s amenities package includes a 43,000-square-foot common space with a theater and restaurants; a fitness and aquatics center; a medical center with primary care providers on site; and Erickson will provide transportation to medical locations off-site, if necessary.
Although Erickson does offer a Medicare Advantage plan called Erickson Advantage as a joint venture with UnitedHealthcare, the provider is unsure if it will be available to residents at Avery Point.
Overall, Antonakos sees the positive population trends as a rising tide that can float all boats, and he emphasized that senior living providers in the area are collegial.
“It’s a very collaborative environment in this market and we all believe that if we can collectively help seniors to make the right [housing] decisions, all of us will be full,” he said.