Vi Makes Headway on Portfolio Renovations, Again Mulls Return to Rental Communities

Vi is in the middle of upgrading multiple communities in its portfolio as the company eyes future growth, including in the rental senior living sector.

Chicago-based Vi is nearing completion on a $92 million renovation at Vi at Bentley Village in Naples, Florida, that is set to wrap up this summer. The work added 64 independent living apartments with modern fixtures and amenities. Since 2014, Vi has invested over $300 million into the Bentley Village community.

The additional units coincide with upgraded amenities and a $41 million redevelopment of the community’s care spaces, expanding assisted living options and upgrading skilled nursing.


Vi President Gary Smith said the company undertook “significant remodeling” of common area spaces and independent living apartment upgrades to modernize aspects at other communities. For example, Vi completed a $6 million common area renovation at its CCRC near Chicago in Glenview, Illinois.

“These things are just something we need to do to stay relevant to continue to reinvest in our communities and where we will have opportunities to expand, we will do that as well,” Smith told SHN.

With the luxury communities in its portfolio, Vi will continue its commitment to renovations as needed to stay “relevant” within local markets, Smith said, as new resident expectations drive further amenities, lifestyle options, and upgraded features.


While development was previously part of Vi’s growth plans, current development is on pause due to high construction costs and the cost of acquiring financing.

“We did what we’re calling a temporary timeout from the standpoint of new development and we’re hoping that we will kick that in again at some point in the near future,” Smith said.

Vi is continuing to look for land deals that would lend favorably to future development once conditions brighten. In the meantime, Vi could be going back to its rental community roots.

Under then-President Randy Richardson, Vi in 2022 announced it was seeking to get back into rental senior living with a project teed up in Arizona. But those plans fizzled when the cost of development rose and became more unpredictable in the year that followed.

But a move back into the rental senior living space is still on Smith’s mind due to strong demand for independent living services, and acquisition opportunities remain plentiful.

“There’s a great opportunity for upscale rentals that are a lot like CCRCs but typically won’t have skilled nursing and don’t have the large entrance fee,” Smith said. “We think it’s something that will be a great opportunity for us.”

Acquisition opportunities for distressed CCRCs dealing with low occupancy or high costs of debt financing remain a further avenue for growth, Smith added.

With occupancy at its CCRCs “just north of 90%,” Smith said the company is continuing to make gains in recovering census lost during the pandemic, and the company is now just within a few percentage points of its pre-pandemic averages.

Needs-based demand for assisted living and memory care, along with lifestyle-driven demand for independent living, has primed Vi for continued occupancy growth.

Having lost between 2 and 4 percentage points of occupancy in independent living and 8 to 10 percentage points in care centers, which included skilled nursing, during the pandemic’s worst period, Smith said recovery of census was well underway.

“While construction starts are down, it’s great for the industry to recapture that loss in occupancy and it’s probably going to continue another year or two,” Smith estimated.

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