Kauhale Health announced that senior living veteran Torey Riso will play a central role as the organization looks to scale its senior living operations.
Kauhale Health has a portfolio of two senior living communities, one of which it owns and the other that it manages. But the Westerville, Ohio-based health care platform is planning to grow by tapping into the investment connections Riso has made throughout his 17-year career in and around the real estate investment business.
Kauhale in March of this year assumed management of a community called Vista Grande Villa — a continuing care retirement community in Jackson, Michigan. Kauhale’s other community — called Kauhale Otsego — is a 52-unit assisted living and memory care community that Kauhale owns in Otsego, Michigan.
Kauhale’s goal is to “build a state-of-the-art operating company focused on efficiency and effectiveness,” Riso told Senior Housing News.
“Once that is built … you either take an ownership stake or you buy a sizable portfolio. But, to do that you need to have a sizable balance sheet,” he said.
That sizable balance sheet is where Riso’s years of experience will come in handy for Kauhale.
Before joining Kauhale, Riso spent time with a bevy of well-known players in senior living and health care investment groups. Most notably, Riso served as president and CEO of Chicago-based real estate investment firm Blueprint Healthcare Real Estate Advisors from 2018 to 2022, and he held the same titles with Care Investment Trust, a New York City-based real estate investment trust (REIT).
Kauhale plans to tap into those connections in the near future. Through the alliance with Riso, the company intends to pursue traditional joint ventures and creative lease structures, according to a press release issued last week.
“We needed somebody who could help us with a growth strategy,” Kauhale Founder and Managing Director Blake Church told Senior Housing News. “He has done it before.”
Kauhale found Riso through a mutual connection who not only introduced the company and the executive but lended credibility to Kauhale.
“The industry is small and it gets smaller by the day,” said Church. Credibility was perhaps Riso’s biggest concern. While Kauhale’s team is well known to the industry as a group of seasoned professionals, the platform is brand new, according to Church.
For Kauhale, the Covid-19 pandemic created something of an investment silver living, because it is starting in the post-Covid era, rather than attempting to regain the margin lost during the pandemic.
“A lot of other groups that are fully formed have legacy pandemic issues,” Riso said. “We have the luxury of not having that.”
But, Riso’s experience navigating the chaos of the 2008-09 financial crisis prepared him for the current turbulence — another reason why he feels Kauhale is well positioned in the coming months and years.
“[We can] go in and say, ‘Listen, we can help you out, here’s our experience, we’ve done this before,’” said Riso.
As for the current landscape, Riso knows that while capital is skittish within the current economic turmoil, the world keeps turning.
“Lenders are tough right now and equity is tight,” Riso said. “But the pressure on the other side of that is that deals need to get done.”
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