Thrive President Sees Margins ‘Continue to Get Healthier’ After Hitting Occupancy Milestone

Thrive Senior Living recently announced 100% occupancy at a handful of communities as margins trend positively and new growth through development is on the horizon.

Looking ahead, President Sebby Kannukkaden said the company would continue to grow through acquisition and development as its “core focus.” Thrive has also been in contact regarding third-party management opportunities that are currently being evaluated, he added.

“We love creating the environments that we are going to be operating in,” Kannukkaden told SHN. “We’ve been through cycles like this before, and we see it as an opportunity to put shovels in the ground when few others are able to and then to deliver new products into the market when few others are.”


Given the challenges of pushing ahead on new projects amid tight debt markets and high construction costs, pursuing development, while tougher than in previous years, can better position the organization in the future.

Kannukkaden highlighted Thrive’s portfolio in the Northeast with a “further pipeline of larger projects” in “high-barrier markets,” noting the success of the Thrive at Montvale community. The company is also growing its footprint in the Southeast, with a future pipeline to include a “broader mix of products and unique combinations.”

“We are being very careful about the pace and speed of our growth, and while we feel there are lots of great growth opportunities, we are more concerned about executing very well on a few projects than growing quickly,” Kannukkaden said.


On its previous 42 senior living projects, Thrive has relied on funding on a project-by-project basis, but recently the company completed the launch of its first discretionary capital fund. The recently created fund represents an evolution in the company’s investment strategy that allows investment across multiple assets at one time.

“We wanted to offer investors a way to invest easily across multiple future projects and give Thrive the ability to co-invest more alongside our institutional LP partners,” Kannukkaden said. “This fund is ideal for individuals and family offices, as they get diversified access to larger projects and piggyback off the underwriting and asset management of Thrive and our larger LP partners.”

While demand remains strong for senior living, Kannukkaden also said so too was “competitive pressure” that led to Thrive “paying up for leaders who may be overqualified” that has benefited the company “immensely,” Kannukkaden added. Labor remains the top challenge for Thrive, like many other operators in the industry.

Thrive will also push into the active adult boon currently underway in senior living, with plans to “develop a new class” of active adult communities, according to comments made by Thrive Chief Investment Officer Alan Moise in a news release published on Aug. 15.

Across the portfolio, Kannukkaden said margins were above “pre-inflation levels” and that occupancy, including those at 100% census, was trending positively with little resistance to annualized resident rental rate increases to offset rising expenses. 

With success on labor via retention and leadership development, Kannukkaden said he sees a senior living industry bifurcated between well-capitalized and well-operating communities versus poorly operated and capitalized communities struggling.

“Demand is strong, but the consumer is demanding – and smart. Good leaders will create environments that will win the day with any consumer,” Kannukkaden said.

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