Clearwater Living Plots Western U.S. Growth After Latest Expansion With Hines

This year, Clearwater Living established a foothold in Texas, the result of building momentum last year. Now, the company is setting its sights on other markets.

The company earlier in May announced it is now managing a newly acquired former Watermark Retirement community in Houston with Hines as an institutional investor, bringing its total community count to 11, three of which are in lease up.

Over the past year, Clearwater has also opened two additional communities in Glendora and Newport Beach, California. And in 2023, the company transitioned and onboarded four communities in Phoenix that it had acquired from Liv Communities in the prior year.


Today, that portfolio carries an average occupancy of 94%. The majority of Clearwater’s portfolio is not far off with an average of 91.5%, according to Danielle Morgan, president and COO of Clearwater Living.

The company is now planning to undertake a combination of acquisitions and development in “strategic markets” within the western half of the U.S.. According to Morgan, the company is set up to handle the level of growth it is anticipating in the coming years.

“We’re not growing for the sake of growth,” Morgan said. “It needs to be an opportunity that we feel confident that we can be successful.”


New foothold in Texas with Hines

Growing into Texas with Hines has advanced the company’s overall plans.

The community, previously part of Watermark Retirement’s Elan luxury collection, opened in 2022 as Clearwater in the Heights. It has 220 units for independent living, assisted living and memory care residents, with amenities that include fitness rooms with yoga and other wellness classes, an art studio, an outdoor heated swimming pool, a salon with an onsite spa and a golf simulator, according to a press release.

Clearwater Living CEO Tony Ferrero said that adding the community to the company’s portfolio “was a great opportunity from a value perspective and fit within our growth envelope.”

“We were able to take advantage of that based on the timing of how we have meticulously and cautiously grown to date,” Ferrero said.

Now under Clearwater management, the plan is for the operator to prioritize and expand independent living.

The Houston community’s unit layout and features – including full kitchens, washers and dryers and larger floor plans – attracts a more independent resident, according to Morgan. Since the acquisition, Clearwater has been changing programming to attract more IL residents and encourage them to age in place.

The company also changed resident rates for the community and has begun sharing those figures more readily with prospective residents differing levels of service to make it easier for consumers to see what they’re paying for. Doing so has “helped significantly” with sales for Clearwater in the Heights, Morgan said.

So far, Morgan noted the efforts have been working, and residents are moving in and expressing interest outside of the typical five-mile radius even with the community’s higher price point.

“I think the design and the luxury feel to this mid-rise community and an overall independent feel attracts a resident to the Heights,” she said. “We’re deploying our programming and lifestyle offerings, and our culinary offerings have been expanded to provide more options and choices.”

He added that the Houston community came together through the company’s previous joint-venture relationship with Hines.

Hines has made senior living a big part of its growth plans. The global real estate giant in 2022 launched a flagship fund targeting $1 billion in equity, including senior housing. Hines has a specific investment vehicle with Clearwater dubbed Clearwater Living Senior Housing Fund V.

With the Houston project now rebranded and recapitalized, Ferrero said the company will turn its sights to the U.S. West, with Houston marking the eastern boundary of that territory.

“Texas was always part of our goal of expansion plans,” Ferrero said.

Looking ahead, Clearwater’s plan is to own the building and continue growing the footprint out. The company is looking to hold the Houston property for the long-term,with another potential announcement of a new Texas expansion coming within the next three to six months. Clearwater also is growing its regional teams in the area to support more growth.

Future growth and active adult

Outside of growth with companies like Hines, Clearwater’s parent company, InSite Realty Advisors, is looking to grow into the active adult space with an affiliated brand alongside Clearwater.

Ferrero noted he has seen active adult as the fourth leg of senior living along with independent living, assisted living and memory care. And the product type has been on his mind for decades.

“I’ve always viewed it as a means of providing an alternative lifestyle to stay at homeownership to get into a more social and active lifestyle,” he said. “It’s built to the higher quality and luxury type of community that we typically do. It’s the same cohort for our independent assisted living and memory support, just 10 years younger.”

Clearwater is also still going to continue developing senior living communities, though Ferrero noted that challenges with capital markets make those plans tough to pencil out.  

Clearwater is currently in the process of developing a community in Windsor, California, that is adding adjacent active adult units to an assisted living and memory care community. That project is set to break ground in 2025. Additionally, Clearwater is developing a community in Huntington Beach, California, in partnership with Hines which is slated to break ground around the same time.

In the meantime, the company is focusing on refining its talent pool, as future growth is going to “be determined by the quality of its people,” Ferrero said. As the company continues to grow, Morgan said the plan is to expand roles both at the community and corporate levels.

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