An industry veteran is launching a new senior living development company with projects planned in the South and Midwest.
The new company is an effort spearheaded by Steve Levin, who is a former senior vice president at Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE: OHI). He was also co-president of Hana2.0 Property Group, which was a spinoff from Aviv REIT Inc. that shuttered in 2020 amid the early challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But with nearly four decades of experience behind him, Levin is diving into a new venture known as Palm Beach Development and he says it could be his “one last push” in senior living before retirement.
Initially, Levin told Senior Housing News the Florida-based company will pursue new acquisitions and development projects in the South and Midwest, specifically Florida and Ohio. He added the company has property under contract near Columbus, Ohio and in Port St. Lucie and Winter Garden, Florida.
“We see those as very strong markets,” Levin said.
The company also is exploring opportunities to grow in the in the Northeast. As far as the property types the Palm Beach Development will pursue, Levin said the company would pursue active adult and independent living senior living spaces.
“The shift towards baby boomers is happening and demographics in the U.S. are trending towards a need for more senior housing,” Levin said. “I think active adult and independent living will be a tremendous feeder.”
Palm Beach Development has already forged partnerships with Embassy Healthcare in both Ohio and Florida, along with operator Pathway To Living and development company the Leo Brown Group.
“We’re working with several others, but they are not yet inked, if you will,” Levin said. “We are in discussions with a lot of the major senior housing players.”
Levin is no stranger to senior housing. He spent 15 years with Omega Healthcare, where he worked closely with operators such as Maplewood Senior Living and its Inspir brand concept.
In the wake of the closure of Hana2.0 Property Group, Levin pivoted to redevelopment and interior renovations of senior living as manager with senior living development and construction management services firm Capex Solutions. But he saw more opportunities to work in new development within the sector outside of that company.
“I kept getting calls and it wasn’t so much on renovations as it was on the new development side of things,” Levin said. “I felt like there was no better time than now.”
Looking ahead, Levin expects the Winter Garden property to close this fall followed closely by a “couple of other acquisitions” closing by year’s end. Beyond that, the company has a goal of undertaking “two to three” development deals that would break ground early next year.
Although the wider industry faces high construction costs and inflation that have slowed development in recent years, Levin said he is confident that current market pressures are short-term in nature and will soon ease. He also noted that senior living development deals typically take three to five years for a project to be completed and residents to move in anyhow.
Levin noted that the debt market and rising interest rates are the industry’s biggest challenge in the near-term as it relates to new construction opportunities.
But beyond those challenges, he still views senior living as a property type with as much promise for growth as multifamily or hospitality.
“There’s just great opportunity right now,” Levin said.
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