The former top leader of health system Ascension’s senior living arm and Green Street Real Estate Ventures are launching a new senior living operating company with an initial focus on assisted living and memory care.
The St. Louis-based company, Chapters Living, is being led by former Ascension Living CEO Danny Stricker. The new operator is currently in its early growth phase, in which it will seek to acquire 40- to 70-unit communities throughout the Midwest.
The company has a goal of having about 400 units under its umbrella in the next 15 to 18 months, according to Stricker. And later down the road, he has ambitions to venture into the new-development active adult space in addition to assisted living and memory care.
“We feel like we can build the platform to serve those two niche parts of the continuum, and be very focused on both in a very scalable way,” Stricker told Senior Housing News. “We’re hopeful that we can get our first transaction to close, if not by the end of this calendar year, then the first quarter of next year.”
He added that the organization is currently focused on “acquiring communities in strong markets that have great reputations.”
The company is backed by Green Street Real Estate Ventures, which is an advisor, developer, a builder and owner of real estate. And it is that vertical integration that Stricker thinks will be crucial to making new development projects work in the future.
“As an operator coming in and having those resources in the same office, we think we can really put something special together for older adults,” Stricker said.
Chapters Living is built on the expectation that future residents and their families will desire a “simple, practical solution that makes their living communities easy to find and work with,” particularly in memory care, according to a press release about the launch.
It is also built on the belief that workers are the backbone of any good senior living operator. To that end, the company is building a platform around the employee experience. For example, Chapters Living has an application process that allows workers to apply for jobs via text.
“The other side of it is … that our leaders in our communities can have the ability to go out and recruit, make offers and make decisions,” Stricker said. “That’s just as important as it is getting it right on the tech side.”
The focus on tech also extends to residents and their families, and Stricker said Chapters is planning to work with technology partners to improve the resident experience. Transparency in rates and a quick response time to requests for more information are also priorities.
As it acquires communities, the company will use Chapters Living as its primary brand. But the company will likely use a different brand name for its future active adult communities.
“We will separate the operations and infrastructure,” Stricker said. “They will be first cousins, but very different service lines.”
As CEO of Chapters Living, Stricker said he doesn’t want to dictate orders from a big corporate office. Instead, he wants to give the company’s executive directors and other leaders the autonomy to make their own decisions — and their own mistakes.
“I’m okay if they don’t always make the right decision the first time, they have to feel that empowerment,” he said. “Speed and making decisions are really important in these times, whether you’re doing a sales pitch to a family, or … to a new associate.”
More generally, Stricker sees a great need across the industry for more affordable assisted living communities, which he defines as having monthly rates for residents at or below about $4,500. And that is a long-term goal.
“But, our initial focus is going to be smaller memory care communities that are purpose-built,” he said.
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