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Ryan Haller – Dave Mazurek – Continuum of Care Through the 11 Dimensions of WELLth

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Ryan Haller
Ryan Haller

Ryan Haller
Founding Principal

Ryan has over 15 years of experience in operations, real estate development, and M&A in the senior living field. He has been featured in many national publications, and is a frequent speaker at industry events including NIC, LTC 100, Senior Living 100, and Senior Housing News’ BUILD.

Ryan seeks every opportunity to be a trailblazer in the industry, as exemplified by his time at Avamere as Chief Development Officer creating the Ovation brand with the assistance of Ritz Carlton hotels. Ryan has led north of $3.7B in senior living transactions since 2008 at firms including Fortress Investment Group (NYSE: FIG), Newcastle REIT (NYSE: NCT), PDCo, and Orchard Hill Partners.

Ryan is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and Executive Board of Directors for the American Senior Housing Association (ASHA). He holds degrees from the University of Nebraska (B.S. in finance), Portland State University (G.C. in Real Estate Development) and Mississippi State University (M.B.A.).

Dave Mazurek
Dave Mazurek

Dave Mazurek
Managing Principal


Dave has over 15 years of real estate development, finance and operations experience across seven property types. Prior to joining WELL, Dave led the senior living platforms for Sterling Bay and Convexity Properties where he developed projects with costs over $620M. Additional experience includes Ventas, Inc. (NYSE: VTR), where he was responsible for overseeing all capital investment activities for a portfolio of 95 senior living communities in the US and Canada.

Dave is a Vice Chair of the Urban Land Institute Senior Housing Council, a graduate of the University of Illinois with a B.S. degree in finance and played professional baseball following college.

Topics Covered:

  1. The next generation consumer that was coming even before COVID, and with that, the advent of affinity group senior living.
  2. Our COGENT brand will be the first to introduce true coliving created for seniors.
  3. What the continuum of care will mean to senior living in 2025 and beyond.  Today, it’s a cliche term that is often misused in senior living.  We hope through our four brands to introduce a new version of the continuum of care through our 11 Dimensions of WELLth.
  4. What the post-pandemic consumer and marketplace looks like, separate from #1 above.  What we are seeing in the debt and equity market, lessons learned, and what we do and do not discern to be a “fad” or “hot take” as we exit COVID and move onward to the next generation.


Ryan’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-h-59b713a/
Dave’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-mazurek-6778186/detail/contact-info/
Website: https://www.sterlingbay.com/

Transcription:

Hanh: 0:59
I have two guests on the program, Ryan Haller and Dave Mazurek, the founding principal and managing principal of Wellness, Enhanced Lifestyle Living. They’re here to discuss the co-living for seniors and what it means for the future of senior living. So we’ll also touch on what the post pandemic consumer and the marketplace will look like. So Ryan and Dave, thank you so much for being with me today on Boomer Living and welcome to the program.

Dave: 1:26
Yeah, we appreciate being here.

Hanh: 1:27
Yeah. Let’s begin by talking a little bit about the next generation consumer of senior living. The one that was coming even before COVID. Do you think that COVID has changed who this next generation consumer is or has it made the differences versus a current consumer more obvious?

Ryan: 1:49
Yeah, I think the issue without question was already coming, it may have hastened the divide a little bit more. We already knew that the average boomer had about a $100,000 of savings and probably was going to make about $42,000 which is really where the advent of the middle market crisis came from. If you think about the world of double jeopardy of not being tried two times for the same crime, we saw that the boomer consumer, obviously in the great financial crisis already had gone through one, exposure of risk to their portfolio. Now they’ve probably gone two, which is going to hasten, the average boomer to make it into probably a less than desirable outcome when it comes to senior living with the current options. And hence why we’re looking at some other options that will address that middle-market crisis.

Hanh: 2:40
Do you have any thoughts on that Dave?

Dave: 2:42
I agree completely. And I think one of the things that the pandemic also heightened, which was already intact pre pandemic was just the need for socialization. That’s the main thing that people are longing for is that personal connection and that sense of community that with quarantines and, a, stay at home orders, we just haven’t been able to do for the greater good of our safety in society.

Hanh: 3:05
Yeah, the socialization, the connection, the engagement, obviously we all need that as humanity and for the older adults, it has much, much more adverse impact. I’m very much hopeful looking forward to things slowly easing back in the new year because even for myself and my school aged kids, it’s detrimental, we need to get back in motion and being around one-on-one. I love the fact that we have this opportunity to meet and talk, but I think there’s nothing like more of a one-on-one sitting down having a meal together, let’s say, so.

Ryan: 3:43
Yah, I ascribe to that. We even say from a, Dave and I are dealmakers, obviously in our profession and we’ve said no deal gets done over Zoom. It’s the same in the business world as well. People want to see the whites of your eyes. And, one statistics that Dave and I talk about quite often is the fact that, the number two reason behind higher level of care that seniors come to senior living is what Dave just pointed out. It’s they want socialization, they’re lonely, it’s loneliness. And also in the top five deaths of seniors is often from loneliness when you talk to gerontologists. And so our models aren’t just to address the economic side of senior living, it’s also to address some of the other aspects that aren’t being touched on in the socialization with other seniors.

Hanh: 4:29
Sure. Socialization, engagement, wellness activities, to promote a brain healthy lifestyle, and when you sum it all up, senior living, it’s all living. And a lot of those programs that you are talking about unfortunately it’s been shut down for too long, I think what’s great is that we can certainly get all this in motion so that when things are reopening more consistently, I think the aging population can definitely benefit from it. So now, how do you think the changes in the market will increase demand for new forms of senior living arrangements like co-living?

Dave: 5:09
I personally think it’s going to increase demand for it from twofold factor one, the desire to be part of a community that offers amenities and all of the wellness lifestyle elements, that one can’t get on their own at home. And then doing that for a reasonable rent and cost of living it’s that two-fold combination of wellness lifestyle at a reasonable price that’s just absolutely absent from the current marketplace option for seniors. So that’s where we saw a lot of opportunity and what we think co-living is a huge component to help solve.

Hanh: 5:44
I like the word affordability, right? Cause not everyone is in that top 1% or 5% or 10% wanting to live a new resort style. So I think co-living community vibrancy, wellness, engagement, affordability, middle-market, that’s all huge.

Dave: 6:01
And we like to think about it as the overall value proposition, because this isn’t affordable housing that’s subsidized. It’s relative affordability compared to the premium price models that are widely developed and have been built over the last several years, coming out of the great financial crisis. Most of our peers have been all building to the same product type because that’s what capital availability warranted, and by no means, am I suggesting that was not a good business model, it just created a lot of consistent and homogenized product type that wasn’t serving the greater a bulge bracket of opportunity in need for resident populations that, that middle market senior.

Hanh: 6:45
Absolutely. So can you distinguish between co-living and co-housing so that we’re all on the same page?

Ryan: 6:52
Yeah. So a co-housing has been around both in the United States and in Europe for generations. Co-housing is very large with seniors in the EMEA region, specifically in Denmark and Sweden. The concept of co-housing is that you are building a community center in the middle of a larger development, typically, a, single family homes. The idea is that, anywhere there’s no set number, but we’ve seen anywhere between 30 and 40 seniors coming together and saying, “Hey, we want to take down a larger swath of land. And we’d like to share. We’d like to share it, everything that we do.” So that’s sharing a vehicle, sharing of meals, sharing of common spaces in the middle. Co-living really got its genesis in the United States with a more of a non age bracketed group, but mostly middle middle market, what I would call millennials who have come to the United States through companies like Ali, who’s done a phenomenal job Starcity, Common. They built all across the country and what they built is typically in urban centers where it’s almost to be honest with you, the closest analogy that I could draw without being pejorative in any term to, to what we’re building, is it’s like college dormitory living to a certain degree except for, with much higher finishes and a much lower level of higher socialization. In those models you technically, or typically, I should say, have four to five rooms that can then feed into a common space. You could have, stealing some an old term from the hotel industry, you don’t really count it on units, you count on doors. So let’s say you have 50 units, but you have 200 doors because each one has four feeding in, the average senior living community for independent living will have anywhere between 35% and 40% common space. In the world of co-living you could have as little as 10% to 15% common space because a lot of that common space is actually in the individual units. Those are the, when speaking in terms of architecture, that’s the big difference, but where they are the same, is it very much, they very much believe in, it’s not just about the price. It’s about everything that Dave has spoken about today, about. And you’ve mentioned as well as a socialization factor in the sharing factor. These, the, one of the thing that I would say about these types of communities is that they’re one of the, part of the modus operandi of individuals we want to live in, is they just want to live lighter on the planet. So that also means, these types of communities are usually parked closer to multifamily where you may have 50 units of parking instead of 200 units of parking and maybe a typical independent living community would have where you have, shared a couple shared Tesla’s onsite. It’s all about bringing down your carbon footprint on the U S while, comparing, every dollar counts, the average price in a mid-market is typically somewhere between $900 and $1,100 a month, which is not even close to being in reach of your typical active adult or independent living community.

Hanh: 9:46
The age span for the co-living, obviously this is way before assisted living, So you’re looking at maybe 60 to 75, but what’s the typical age span?

Ryan: 9:56
The average age of somebody living in co-living across the world and also is coincides with active adult, somewhere around 72 years of age. Your average independent living resident in this country is somewhere around 81, 82, 83 in that mix. So it still is before, but as you look at how independent living is not really a big thing overseas, obviously there’s several companies that have been very successful, but not to the level or gravity that we have here in the US. There’s never been an instance where independent living has co-exist with co-living at the same size and magnitude in a market. We believe that, as trying to be transformers and change-makers in the industry, that this will not replace independent living, but maybe lend a helping hand to the independent living market, that over time as residents don’t need to age out of place, I would say instead of age in place, that perhaps assisted living and memory care can be introduced to this model as well. But for us at Wellness Enhanced Lifestyle Living, we have no doubt upfront that we’re going to focus on the basic blocking and tackling of non care models upfront.

Hanh: 11:03
And I like the name “Wellness Living.” So now how did you come up with that? And of course, what activities, what wellness plans do you have as part of the co-living?

Dave: 11:13
Ryan, I’ll let you take that one. Ryan officially founded Well and was the, I’ll call it brand ambassador behind some of the early elements that we established.

Ryan: 11:22
I couldn’t have done it without, Dave and also our partner, Mandy, who has been very influential upfront. We all came to which is the acronym for Wellness Enhanced Lifestyle Living for different reasons. But at the heart of everything we do is wellness. The first thing that we did before, hiring an architect or even sitting down Dave and I have spent our career being, a, defacto financial analysts, is we sat down with wellness experts. I’ve spent with Dave and Mandy the, the past year with gerontologists wellness experts such as Seth Streeter, who is very inspiring in the Ted Talk scene and also a board member of our organization, of sitting down and really talking about how to get seniors to a 3.0 which we’ll highlight more in the coming weeks and months. But we are fervent believers in the saying “form follows function”, and we do not need an architect. We do not need a banker or a financial financial analyst until we really understand the heart of our organization, which is embedded in our name Which is Wellness Enhanced Lifestyle Living is wellness. As the programs, there will be a wealth, but spelled WELLth coordinator or director at every single location on our executive team, while a lot of people are spending big dollars upfront on certain positions that are pretty commonplace in organizations. Our senior management team made the decision that the appropriate time, one of our first hires up top, as we start to open buildings will be an EDP of WELLth. We feel very passionate about the wellness component of Wellness Enhanced Lifestyle Living. And, I guess the last thing I would say to that is that every, with every building, having a WELLth director every single resident will have their own WELLth program and it’s not going to be your typical boiler plate wellness program that you’ve seen over the years, plus 40 years at senior housing communities will be something very new age and different that we think that the baby boomers are really asking for as a part of the request to not only bring down the cost of senior living, but also make this a program, the programming for wellness around my needs, not what my parents’ needs were.

Hanh: 13:33
Right, yeah for the baby boomers need, because what they need relative to their parents and grandparents is diverse, so I agree with you. I’m a young baby boomer, so I know when I’m in my sixties or so what I want in my sixties is no where, what my parents want in their sixties. So that’s great. So it sounds like your approach is very evidence-based driven type of design process and hiring. That’s what it sounds like.

Ryan: 14:00
Absolutely.

Dave: 14:01
Yeah. Yes, very much. And something that Ryan said I’d like to add onto about form follows function. All too often that we’ve been into various communities, senior living communities around the country and in, in helping my grandmother find her next residence, you walk and you tour their community and they often say we’ll ask “What’s your wellness program?” And they’ll say “We offer yoga twice a week and organic meals.” That’s not wellness to us. That just doesn’t even come close to what we feel like wellness could be when you optimize somebody’s life potential through that wellness journey. Of the different components we have 11 of them that we feel like round out a holistic wellness. The programmatic element of it from the operational side will align with the building design from the onset. So for each of our components of wellness for instance spiritual is a component, we’ll have meditation rooms and prayer rooms in space that can be dedicated to that operational programming. And so when somebody comes in to take a tour of a community, the individual that greets them and escorts them around the community, we’ll be highlighting the various rooms as they walk through talking about the wellness program. And then after a wellness or excuse me, after a resident moves in, they then go through the customization element of that program to suit their personal preferences. So it’s really the the crux of integration between operations and real estate that we think is, I won’t say missing because some operators and developers do a very good job, but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be industry-wide.

Hanh: 15:39
So you’re really enhancing the wellness side of it because you’re incorporating not just, let’s say yoga and, and nutrition, which are very key components, but there’s so many components within the, your wellbeing, which includes, like you say, the spirit the mental, the physical and your sleep habits, let’s say reducing stress, right? There’s a lot of components, I think it’s wonderful if you include all encompassing all those key component. And to me, honestly, if I came across a community that can explain what all that entail, I’ll tell you, I think even my oldest siblings who are in their seventies, very much would be interested because when they’re in that place, let’s face it for many may not be as inclined to get out there and an exercise if they haven’t already, it’s tough. It’s tough to do that. So if you offer an environment that enabled them to learn to develop their physical, their mental, their physical and spiritual, I think it’s much needed. It’s much needed in your seventies. It’s much needed in my fifties right now. I think all those are very important.

Ryan: 16:51
And there’s no doubt for the longest of time, we’ve all mystery shopped competitors across the country. It’s very common over the last 40 years to hear about the seven dimensions of wellness. They’re not often fully understood that they’re often rushed in the marketing material, that’s why we’re very intentional, and we have our 11 Dimensions of WELLth, which have some overlap with the seven dimensions of wellness. But really what they’re meant to be is, wellness 2.0 3.0 4.0 wherever we are on the spectrum of really advancing it to the next level. And it’s, empirically-based.

Dave: 17:21
Yes, absolutely, especially for a certain age profiles. So as Ryan mentioned earlier Europe has a well-documented history for establishing co-living on an age restricted basis and for certain age profiles in part, because with a lack of space certain European countries have had to integrate higher density sooner than the US has been forced to do it. So it’s more of a by-product of, if you’re living in a market like Manhattan which some urban European cities are like in resemble where you don’t have the space that you might have in Texas or sprawling markets of suburban Dallas. That’s part of what we suspect is why co-living, hasn’t been more widely embraced in the US, or it is certainly on the co-housing side, but just the overall value proposition between the market opportunity on the business side of it and then the wellness benefit that our senior residents are going to get. There’s, I won’t say a philanthropic element to it, but certainly we are enhancing the lifestyle of so many folks and not just the residents themselves, but their families, their network that see their residents thriving. The combination of all of that just makes it very compelling case for Ryan, Mandy and I to get involved in this space.

Hanh: 18:39
That’s great. Now, what do you think the post pandemic senior living marketplace will look like given what we are seeing in the debt and equity markets and lessons learned from COVID?

Dave: 18:50
On the debt and equity side I think it’ll be very robust. And I say that for a couple of different reasons, as far as different asset classes go, talking about whether it’s stocks, bonds, real estate, there’s a very compelling return on investment case over the near mid and longterm to get into real estate and especially the nature of a multifamily real estate, whether it’s traditional apartments or senior housing. There’s also a lot of pent up demand for equity investors that have raised funds and weren’t able to deploy their funds fully because of the timing of the pandemic. So a lot of the major institutional investors have pent up capital that’s on the sidelines, waiting for the debt markets to come back, and the debt markets are still on the sidelines a little bit. That’s primarily due to some of the other aspects of their real estate portfolio. Getting hit a little bit harder, whether it’s hotels or retail, that’s affecting the liquidity for all wall of commercial real estate lending but those are near term, right situations that’s going to open up second half of 2021. And certainly as Ryan, Mandy and I are looking at creating a longterm business over the next 30 years, and with our projects being development profiles, our projects aren’t delivering for anywhere from four to seven years, depending on entitlement horizons. So when we look across capital availability of financing projects and getting capital commitments this year, but not actually really deploying that capital into 2022 and thereafter, it is very robust and re will be readily available for quality projects. And another thing we’re hearing from are, especially on the equity capital side is just a thirst for differentiation. Capital is looking for that next thing, that is one step away from what already exists and they can point to, and that isn’t so far out that it’s like venture capital, because that’s one thing about real estate investors is that they they have to go back to their investment committees and point to comps. So if you’re too innovative, you actually can’t get a project financed. So just going one step, which our product is well-documented in Europe, very similar to student housing, there’s already a very robust, co-living non age restricted population base. And Ryan, what is the statistic that Ali and the likes of some of the other co-living providers get for their upper age population that comes in?

Ryan: 21:14
Yeah, surprisingly, that’s a great point. Traditional co-living that exists in the United States today, it’s typically seen between 20% and 25% of all applicants into their communities are over the age of 65 to begin with, which really is a showing of a rate of acceptance up front. One other, Dave, I couldn’t put it any better than what Dave, just put it. One of the things that came to mind recently is we were talking about some of our first co-living developments with some master plan development partners across the United States that they’ve shared many times with us is that a lot of the insurance companies out there are trying to drive down costs of the senior generation. And part of that is, is encouraging those that we were talking about earlier the 55, 65, even a sub 75 age cohort of “How do we drive down their costs?” We drive down their costs for their insurance network through innovative wellness based senior living communities like these. And so we’re actually seeing some insurance companies who maybe in the past were not involved in investing in maybe real estate or specifically senior real estate market that are dipping their toe into the market not necessarily with us. But as Dave alluded to, to other areas that enhance the lives of seniors in return their net benefit to that is bringing and down their total insurable cost.

Hanh: 22:35
Wow. That is very exciting.

Dave: 22:37
I think the potential untapped capital pool that insurance providers are going to bring to the senior living space is going to be very robust over the next 10 to 15 years. Insurance companies are going to take what we think, they’re going to take stakes and operating companies and the debt and equity side of real estate as well. It just makes so much sense how somebody’s health outcomes and the cost of those health outcomes really stem from their environment and where they’re spending most of their time on a daily basis, which is a senior living community in their wellness lifestyle or lack thereof which would be driving up costs.

Hanh: 23:14
Very true. Very true. So what senior living trends created by COVID do you think are just fads and which do you think will last into the longterm future?

Dave: 23:25
Ryan, Mandy and I have spent a lot of time looking into the real estate side of what will last the test of time and in, in some areas the jury’s out. But I think the one, overwhelming or too overwhelming trends that will stand the test of time and should have been further along than they were pre COVID, building flexible spaces. We’re seeing a lot of communities that have had a morph common areas and be able to section those off and try to create better socialization programs within smaller spaces that could serve as mini quarantine areas, and then the integration of indoor outdoor elements. Those are all things that Ryan Mandy and I very much believe in and we’re integrating into all our communities and we were doing that pre COVID just because we thought that it aligned with an overall wellness lifestyle. You get more efficiency in your real estate design, which then leads to cheaper costs, which you can impart pass some of that onto your lower resident rents by having those flexible spaces. The other thing that was accelerated that I do think will stand the test of time, so long as you can find the right return on cost balance, is just the overall air, water, environmental health and cleanliness. So better air purification systems, HVAC systems; those types of things are pretty expensive. And there’s, I think going to be some technological improvements that need to take place to get that balance just right where it can be rolled out to the masses. But that’s something that I think people are pretty keen on, and having really pure water, really pure air that leads to healthier resident outcomes.

Ryan: 25:03
Yeah, and I, very well said Dave. One of the things that sometimes we got an eye roll before the pandemic was the amount of money we spent on one landscape architecture and landscape Architects, obviously. We’ve always been fervent believers that outdoor space is good for wellness. It’s also, a, landscape space is typically cheaper than buildable space indoors. We believe that is going to be something that already was a main and main aspect of our bill to begin with. and will be after the pandemic as well.

Hanh: 25:33
Very good points. Okay. So what will continuum of care mean to the senior living in say 2025 and beyond? Do you think the industry needs to introduce or define a new type of continuum of care?

Ryan: 25:47
Maybe it’s continuum of wellness. We’re not a big believer of care in any aspect. I like the word care. I think it served its purpose, but we’re not just trying to be, wordsmiths or word architects in our marketing. We’re really passionate about living out what’s in our marketing materials. We don’t, third-party our marketing materials out to other people, they’re all handwritten by the partners and principles of our organization. So when we look at, what, 2025, 2026 looks like, we’ll just call the continuum of wellness. I expect a lot of our 11 dimensions of wellness to be much more instilled in just thinking about care and the terms of what does a nurse do to assist mom and dad. What does a physical therapist do to help mom and dad. That’s very reactive. Wellness is generally, is very, a proactive approach. And so I think that’s a big area that we’ll see some type of not just shift, but maybe seismic shift in the process. And then I also think that the traditional continuum today, we talk a lot about that starts at independent living and it, sometimes it goes all the way to skilled nursing, depending on what part of the industry that you’re in. I actually think that if we’re going to call it the continuum of wellness, it probably will start even before you enter into senior living, and it may be something, in respect to maybe active adult or a co-living approach. Believe it or not, we in many respects are not attempting to put ourselves out of business, but the name of our game is we have many brands that, that go in and out of, traditional senior living. We have our Cogent brand, but we also have our Perennial brand, which is a traditional senior living that’s being refined with, wellness aspects. We have a Varsity brand that does business with on campus, typically with universities across the country and bringing students on board to help, not, to help multiple generations. And we have our Ora brand, which is a more premium brand that are being built today. We are certainly not out to put those other brands out of business, but maybe slow down the aging process so when they do get to those communities, it’s a very different look than what you have today with the traditional senior living community where, you usually bring mom or dad around and their response is “I don’t want to live here.” We want people to come through our communities, no matter which brand it is and say, “Wow, this isn’t what’s in Hollywood or in the movies, or maybe what I took my parents through.” It’s something very different and something that they very much look forward to in the next chapter of their lives, certainly not the final chapter.

Hanh: 28:08
I love the, the philosophy because when I think of wellness, I think of longevity. And I believe it starts now. No, actually it starts yesterday for everybody. And if you can live according to the seven principles, you don’t start when you are, in your sixties or seventies getting into whether it’s co-living or senior living. If we start in the later part you better believe it will be reacting. And I am just an advocate for promoting brain healthy lifestyle and all the seven key elements that you are advocating. So thank you. Um, on a personal level, what do you think is your biggest strength that enables you to have a unique and impactful effect on older adults, maybe something that’s not well known about you?

Ryan: 28:55
About.

Dave: 28:55
Sure for me, it’s just a genuine love of the overall stakeholder benefit that everyone involved in senior living walks away from feeling better about what they did that day on not only a day in and day out basis, but over the long run. So when I say stakeholders there, there are very few real estate investment businesses and operational businesses across the property types of commercial real estate, where you look at the overall stakeholder. It’s the community at large, the residents themselves, the residents, families, their networks, the employees of Wellness Enhanced Lifestyle Living and our operating partners. It’s the community in the rest of the homeowners in that community, around the senior living community, that whole spectrum benefits when senior living is done. And when residents thrive and that’s one of our core tenants that we talk about that if residents thrive, and you’re making decisions based on resident wellness, everything else falls into place. And seeing that outcome when residents are smiling and you’ve made an impact on their lives and they’re living in a very well-appointed community so much better than their alternative options or maybe what they were living, and that could be on just one level. Maybe it’s the social aspect. Maybe it’s the physical community and the amenities they have access to relative to their home. Maybe it’s just, worry-free lack of maintenance that somebody had at home, but any of those things that you get when you actually tour communities, you see the residents happy and literally saying, “Thank you.” That is such a good feeling, and that at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, and when you deliver that type of feeling for a resident, everything else falls into place financially to being able to grow your business lines, your team member satisfaction, all of it.

Hanh: 30:39
I believe senior housing, once you have your real estate in place, everything else, if not a hundred percent is 99% all operational. And it sounds like in your case, it’s a fully integrated with wellness. So I think that’s a wonderful idea.

Ryan: 30:55
Yeah, well said, one of our wellness partners, or rather re-partners not at for Wellness, Enhanced Lifestyle Living, but with former employers of Dave and I have often said to us now I’d rather have an A operator in a C building than a C operator in A building. We would love to sit here and take all the praise that we as innovative developers are going to make the difference, but there’s many, a sad story about beautiful buildings that really never materialized to any of their terminal value, both societal value and also economic value, because you didn’t have a great operator. And so that’s obviously a main focus for us, and we are very aware that, and, throwing a number out there, 80% and 90% of all value of a real estate transaction comes from the operator. And so we will spend a lot of time ensuring that our operations are best in class to match the best in class real estate that we’re building.

Hanh: 31:48
Operator, team culture, cultivation, it’s a type, and I’ll call it a business because it is, right? It is a business, but we’re in the caring business. So ultimately your operator, your program director, all the team members, at the end of the day, you’re physically in so many ways, perhaps not now because it COVID, but you’re really touching, you’re touching people’s hands, people’s lives and hearts. So to me, it’s almost like ministry work, especially when you are working with folks that are truly serving from their hearts. So I think it’s wonderful. Do you have any other thoughts that you would like to share?

Ryan: 32:27
Yeah, we touched base on, when we sat around in a board room before the pandemic, we talked about what are the issues in senior living. You could go to any of the major conferences and that’s what all the speakers are focused on. One of the many ubiquitous, concepts that shared over the last two to three years is the staffing crisis that’s ahead. And to that end, part of our brand, you just touch base on is ensuring that the staff that we have, or the associates that we have that they are just as much wellness engaged as our residents. Our brands are meant to solve, be solved, not necessarily by a bunch of suits in the executive wing, it’s going to be sold at the community level and it starts with getting the right staff. I think we’ve had a once in a generation opportunity that has come out of COVID they talked about the good and the bad. It’s mostly bad, but one of the opportunities that the industry can really take advantage of and parlay is the number of people that have been made available to entering senior living because the downfall of other industries, such as the hospitality industry. We got to retain those those individuals in our industry. There’s no doubt about it. And the way we do that is by catering to their needs as well. And so we talk about the 11 dimensions of WELLth, we’re not just focusing on our residents, we’re focusing on our associates as well. And the final thing I would say on that, it goes back to the old her Keller, who used to be the CEO of Southwest airlines. He always used to say, “You take care of your internal customer and they’ll take care of your external customer.” We believe that, obviously something as paramount as part of our operating model is we will spend an inordinate amount of time and money to bring the wellness of our residents, but also our staff, into play and be optimal.

Hanh: 34:13
That’s great, wonderful ethics and philosophies that you’re executing too. So I think that’s awesome. Do you have anything else that you would like to share?

Dave: 34:23
Thank you. And we’re excited about 2021, while it’s not here yet where the tide is turning and we’re excited to capitalize some of our projects and deliver a wellness lifestyle to our residents in the not too distant future.

Ryan: 34:36
Yeah, we certainly view, 2021 as a very important year to our firm, but the industry as a whole, we’re very excited. One of the favorite things that I have, being in this industry is the ability to be around our residents and learning from our residents. And that obviously the life of Zoom is it’s taken over all of our lives. I’m ready to get back to the the ability to be with residents again and get out in the field, that’s going to be very exciting, but first things first, we have to have a successful vaccine, which we’re all rooting for to be brought out throughout the US.

Hanh: 35:07
Great. Great. I echo that. Thank you so much for this opportunity to talk

Ryan: 35:14
Thank you so much for thinking of us. I really appreciate it. We’re already big listeners of your podcast. I really enjoyed the Dwayne Clark episode you recently had and just very appreciative of you highlighting some of our thoughts.

Hanh: 35:26
I think as industry leaders we just need to rise above the negative in the media, Because we know it’s not true, it’s ill informed. And by having leaders like yourself, speaking on your goals and mission and how you want to be impactful, the listeners who are outside of the industry need to hear that. So I thank you.

Ryan: 35:46
I appreciate that very much.

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Episode 85

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