Seniors Housing Business

OCT-NOV 2017

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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40 Seniors Housing Business n October-November 2017 By Jeff Shaw Real estate is in Andy Isakson's blood. His grandfather, Andrew Isakson, started a homebuilding business after coming to the United States from Sweden in the early 20th century. His father helped form prominent Atlanta-based commercial real estate firm Northside Realty in the 1950s. His brother Johnny — now a U.S. senator — led that firm for over 22 years as well. Several of Andy's nephews work in commercial real estate, including Kevin Isakson who is a business partner. Isakson worked in a variety of commercial real estate sectors early in his career, starting in retail shopping centers before founding his own firm in 1982. That firm developed nearly 5 million square feet of office and retail space before Andy's passions changed. Leaving all other real estate sectors behind to focus on seniors housing, Andy founded Isakson Liv- ing in 2002. The company opened Park Springs Place in the Atlanta suburb of Stone Mountain in 2004. The massive continuing care retirement community (CCRC) spans 1.2 million square feet and serves more than 600 residents — and it is currently in the midst of an expansion and reposi- tioning. The project will feature the emerging household model in which smaller groups of units share a communal kitchen and common areas. In October, Isakson Living broke ground on its next CCRC, Peachtree Hills Place in the affluent Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. The first phase of the project is already nearly 90 percent pre-sold, and Isakson believes the property is going to introduce a new model that could shake up the seniors housing industry. Seniors Housing Business met with Isakson at the future Peachtree Hills Place site — includ- ing a walk-through of a model unit — and asked him about his approach to seniors hous- ing and what the future holds for the industry. Seniors Housing Business: What caused you to move from more standard commercial real estate fare into seniors housing? Isakson: My father was in his mid-70s when he started looking around at his seniors hous- ing options. He knew real estate in Atlanta really well, but he never really found exactly what he was looking for. He ended up renting two independent living units, combining them and doing a complete renovation. He was 77 when he moved in and enjoyed the socializa- tion, but unfortunately he passed away in the first year. My mother had Alzheimer's disease. As her dementia progressed, we had to move her five times in the last five years of her life. So I learned the business from the consumer side first. I was exposed to these campus-style projects with the full continuum of care and saw the benefit of that — of not having to move. I was also looking for a sector with barriers to entry, and seniors housing was a little bit unique in that way. It's a niche business. Not everybody can do it. That's an advantage if you invest the time. SHB: It's been almost 15 years since you founded Isakson Living. How has the company evolved since then? Isakson: We started off developing Park Springs, a campus-style CCRC in Stone Moun- tain, Ga. Our focus when we got in the busi- ness was development. That's changed over the years. We're now focused more on manage- ment than development. To really do a good job in seniors housing, you have to focus on management. We enjoy that part of it, and I think that it opens a lot of opportunities in the future. We focus on trying to be the best manager we can. That will serve us well in the future. As we learned the business, we took on more and more of the management role. We fully own and operate all our properties now. We opened Park Springs in 2004, added a second phase in 2006 and a third phase in 2008. This year we expanded our healthcare services with the addition of a new 117,000-square-foot health services building. In total we now have 398 independent living units, 54 skilled nursing units, 36 memory care units and 60 assisted liv- ing units. The campus is 60 acres and over 1.2 million square feet. We purchased the property for Peachtree Hills Place in 2005. The recession prevented a planned start in 2008, so our 2017 groundbreak- ing has been long anticipated. Rebranding the CCRC SHB: Do you focus on any particular points on the continuum of care more than others? Isakson: We like to focus on the whole con- tinuum. Our properties are licensed as CCRCs, but we don't always call them that. That's for marketing to the customer. We refer to Peachtree Hills Place as "Peachtree Hills Place, an Isakson Living Com- munity." The only restriction we put on it is that it's for residents 55 and older. SHB: How do you move them through the continuum of care, both from a marketing and Andy Isakson Founder, Managing Partner, Isakson Living n The SHB Interview Owner-operator aims to push the boundaries of changing demographics and trends. A rendering shows the future entry hall of Peachtree Hills Place, the Isakson Living continuing care retirement community currently under construction in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood. Fast facts Company Name: Isakson Living Founded: 2002 Headquarters: Atlanta Portfolio: 398 units, 1.2 million square feet In Development: Peachtree Hills Place CCRC in Atlanta

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