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Are apartment developers ready to enter senior housing?

June 25, 2009
by Cgartman
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It’s funny how a great business opportunity resonates in places you never expected. As a franchisor that is creating first-class assisted-living residences in rural and suburban communities across the country, we knew Country Place Living would draw attention from people who understood the importance of senior care and who knew the growing senior population would only increase demand.

So when business owners who were already serving the senior sector in other areas like in-home care (medical and nonmedical) started contacting Country Place Living to investigate our franchise concept for their market, we were delighted. They know what we know—the future of the senior services sector is in a well-rounded business that offers care to seniors in the most home-like atmosphere possible. We start with our very small footprint assisted-living residences. We add our dining, Seniorcise exercise program, and a full activity calendar and in this way we are able to help seniors become stronger and stay vital longer.

Folks in senior services understand this—but imagine our surprise when another kind of business owner called in equal numbers: Apartment developers. Really, we asked? Do they know what’s involved here? Do they understand our commitment to serve? Do they know what it means to create community on a very small scale? As a matter of fact, yes.

It didn’t take long to connect the dots with this other very experienced group. Apartment developers—and there are many good ones out there—know all about multi-unit housing. And, boy, are they good at it. In fact, for some apartment developers, the art of real estate development has been perfected like a well-oiled machine with thousands of units on their resumes. The construction process has been refined much like a franchise system is refined for its franchisees. Likewise, apartment developers have a real eye for supply and demand. With the growth of a young, mobile, working population over past decades came the demand for rental apartments. From a need basis, they got it. From a profit basis, they’ve done it.

So, it was a logical evolution for these same businessmen and women to see a real supply and demand opportunity in the senior housing market as well. As the number of rental units has crested, and financing for large rental properties has severely slowed, a new, older audience has emerged that needs addressing. People are living longer and in more and more cases they cannot live alone. They have come full-circle and need the support of community and smaller living environments—and our small footprint assisted-living environment is part of that next solution.

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