Saint Therese is expanding to a new state with plans to acquire a senior living community in Michigan as the company eyes further growth.
The Saint Louis Park, Minnesota-based senior living operator recently signed a letter of intent to assume ownership of a continuing care retirement community on July 1 from the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Monroe, Michigan. The 220-unit community offers 143 AL units, 19 IL units and 58 units for skilled and memory care.
Saint Therese operates three communities in Minnesota with a fourth community opening in 2024 in Corcoran, Minnesota. The move to Michigan represents the nonprofit’s first foray outside of its home state of Minnesota — and if CEO Craig Abbott’s plans come to fruition, it will not be the last.
“We’re certainly excited about it,” Abbott. told Senior Housing News. “It’s our first historic look outside the state of Minnesota.”
Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Saint Therese will become the parent organization of the nonprofit corporation that owns and operates the life plan community, with Immaculate Heart to retain office and congregational space,.The name of the community also will not change with the move, Abbott noted.
IHM selected Saint Therese after a lengthy review process of other senior living operators and organizations.Abbott said the company would build upon the legacy of Immaculate Heart at the community. IHM President Sister Jane Herb will have a role on the Saint Therese Board of Directors, a press release regarding the transaction states.
Abbott said the acquisition was a great opportunity due to the mission-alignment of Saint Therese and Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with other opportunities possible in the future to acquire other communities in the region.
“Having economies of scale and a core presence is important to us as we look at our growth strategy,” Abbott said. “We are looking at further opportunities. Learning the new markets is a very big deal for us.”
This is the first agreement of its kind for Saint Therese,and the new growth is all part of a larger plan as the company broadens its footprint outside of its stomping grounds..
“Right now our focus really is on mission-aligned existing assets where we think we can add value and continue legacy,” Abbott said.
Abbott, who joined the organization last May, said he approached his leadership role looking for future growth opportunities with an eye on market demographics and margin expansion.
Future opportunities would most likely come in the Midwest, Abbott said, and he noted that there were other faith-based acquisition opportunities in Michigan.
“We want to have a presence not only within the community but the greater community at-large,” Abbott said.
With a new strategic plan in place with a goal to impact over 25,000 lives in the coming decade, Abbott said the senior living environment was rife with partnership opportunities with other mission-driven organizations.
At its fully operational communities, occupancy is in the 90th percentile and Abbott said Saint Therese was “curing the post-Covid-19 hangover.”
With 2023 being a “dynamic” year for Saint Therese, Abbot said he shares the industry’s optimism on favorable demographics and demand for senior living. Through short-term workforce investment and improving labor overall, Abbott said Saint Therese’s occupancy “was strong, and we were making post-Covid corrections” but that margins were still slightly down from historical levels, he added.
“We’re optimistic and that’s backed up by a great degree of operating and strategic discipline,” Abbott said.