Inside the Launch of Liv Communities’ Liv+ Active Adult Brand

After plans were set in motion to exit the traditional senior housing space earlier this year, Liv Communities is leveraging its wealth of experience in multifamily development to launch an active adult, 55-and-up brand known as Liv+.

In November, Clearwater Living acquired four LivGenerations senior living communities in the Phoenix, Arizona area, with the deal worth $255 million for the 554-unit portfolio. That exit paved the way for Liv Communities to focus solely on the Liv multifamily portfolio development and the new active adult brand, Liv+.

“We think there’s a bigger opportunity out there than is being catered to right now,” Liv Communities Chief Operating Officer Heidi Arave-Noonan told Senior Housing News.


But Liv Communities has always had its strength in the multifamily sector, going back a decade when its first site opened in Chandler, Arizona. In 2018, Liv Communities was born of a merger with luxury senior living operator Retirement Community Specialists, Inc. (RCS) and Investment Property Associates.

The company’s pivot from senior living to focus on multifamily development and its active adult product isn’t a surprise given that the active adult space is one of the country’s “hottest growth” sectors, with a 2030 Grandview Research Community Market Report showing the active adult 55-plus market size was valued at $565.3 billion in 2021. That’s on top of the anticipated over-4% projected compound annual growth rate from 2022 to 2030, the report shows.

Aided by a recent milestone NIC research report defining the product type, investors and other capital providers are increasingly seeing active adult as a good senior housing bet. Active adult communities also have high resident retention rates of 80% or more, compared to IL rates of 60% and multifamily of 50%.


But the biggest differentiating factor in the case for active adult growth is the sector’s margins. Active adult communities can carry average margins of 64% — a percentage that is just shy of multifamily and more than double pre-pandemic margins for independent living, according to the NIC report.

And Liv Communities is far from the only organization leveraging senior housing know-how to go after the active adult market. Other examples include Avenue Development’s Via Bene brand, and Headwaters Group, led by former Anthology Senior Living President Ben Burke.

Identifying a service gap leads to shift

Liv Communities learned quickly that its wheelhouse was in serving high-level hospitality, regardless of whether that be in multifamily or senior living, but a service gap emerged, according to Arave-Noonan.

“If our residents want a transition between multifamily and senior living, without giving up the hospitality and services they enjoy at Liv, we will now have an offering to fill that gap,” Arave-Noonan said. “We saw a real opportunity there to offer that in-between situation where people are still independent, and in some cases still working, but ready for a living situation with others that share their interests and passions.”

Liv Communities will continue its multifamily development alongside the new Liv+ active adult brand. At present, Liv Communities has three multifamily sites in the Phoenix area, with a fourth under construction in Laveen, Arizona that’s set to open next summer. Two other communities are located in Michigan markets. Live Communities has also developed four senior living communities in the Valley area to-date.

“We’ll continue to create multifamily communities, and in that family of brands is our Liv+ brand, tailored to those aged 55 and up. We have a deep understanding of the needs of all age groups given our opportunity to serve our customers and their families in multifamily and seniors housing” Arave-Noonan said.

The difference, she said, will lie in the brand’s heavier focus on programming and hospitality services than compared to a typical, non-age restricted multifamily product.

The shift to wellness and lifestyle within senior living is nothing new, and that trend could continue as favorable demographic shifts continue to bring new, and younger, customers to the fold.

“We put people living fuller, more independent lives at the forefront,” Arave-Noonan said. “We drive our service decisions and design elements based on what we learn from our customers.”

Focus on growth

First up in the Liv+ brand is the Union Peak project in northern Phoenix that’s under active development with plans to open the community in the third quarter of 2024, Arave-Noonan confirmed, with eyes on the Phoenix metro market for future growth.

At Union Peak, the 145-unit project will be part of the Norterra master-planned community with a variety of dining and shopping venues blocks away from the community. The project will also include a clubhouse, wellness center, coffee bar, dog park, pool and outdoor recreation space. Other shared amenities include work space, indoor gaming and gathering areas along with bocce and pickleball courts.

Apartment homes within the community range from 580 square-feet studio layouts to three-bedroom, 1,700 square-feet units. Two-bedroom offerings will also be part of the unit mix with garages separate from the main building.

And what that growth looks like remains to be seen, with Arave-Noonan telling SHN the growth of the product type in both multifamily and active adult will continue over time.

She stressed that while the company wants to help residents stay in place while preserving quality and vibrancy of life, Liv Communities does not want to move up the care continuum, as evidenced by its exit from traditional senior living.

‘Developing the details’ in 2023

Liv Communities will focus much of its energy in 2023 on “developing all the details of services and programming” set to come with the Liv+ brand, Arave-Noonan said.

That opportunity to bring in new services extends to the company’s entire portfolio, she added, with the company looking at ways of bringing amenities and offerings to residents.

“We hope to bring more value to our residents at home,” Arave-Noonan said. “We think that’s a real opportunity right now.”

To address persistent challenges in labor and expenses, Arave-Noonan said Liv would focus on creating more efficiencies in operations, with a plan to centralize some of the company’s administrative and accounting operations to allow staff to focus solely on resident engagement and services.

The value proposition of active adult could also draw more people from their homes to Liv+ communities going forward, even as challenges in the housing market remain. 

“There are a lot of people that will find it very attractive to downsize and save money to move into a Liv+ community from their home, without having to sacrifice the comforts they enjoy and expanding their social lives and overall wellness goals,” Arave-Noonan said.

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