If all goes according to plan, Christian Living Communities (CLC) may soon have a much wider reach.

The Greenwood Village, Colorado-based nonprofit senior housing owner-operator recently tripled the size of its home care division, and it plans to double the number of senior housing communities under its management by 2020.

Still, President and CEO Terry Rogers considers the company’s growth plan to be “slow and steady”—a pace that is necessary to guarantee quality service for years to come, he told Senior Housing News.

Slow, steady and focused

CLC currently operates eight senior housing communities in Colorado. Four of these communities are managed specifically by CLC’s third-party management arm, Cappella Living Solutions, which was formed in 1972. The remaining four communities are owned and operated by CLC; three are life plan communities, and one offers only assisted living.

Going forward, CLC plans to grow primarily by growing its Cappella Living Solutions client base. At present, there are two future Cappella-run communities under construction in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Kansas City, Missouri, and there are two Capella properties in the pipeline in the Chicago area.

Cappella is also in discussions to operate a portfolio of three communities across Colorado and Utah.

Ultimately, CLC is aiming to have 20 communities under Cappella management by 2020. As a rule, Cappella-run communities operate almost identically to those actually owned by CLC.

“We’re able to take the culture that we’ve built [at CLC] and we’re carrying that same culture out to the clients. We use the same support structure, we use the same training…everything is similar,” Rogers said.

Right now, due to its Denver-area headquarters, CLC is considering only certain geographic regions for its Cappella communities.

“We’re saying, ‘Chicago, west,’ at this point,” Rogers said. “We just want to be able to get there from a support standpoint.”

This means that some in-demand U.S. markets are currently off-limits.

“We turn down Florida opportunities every week,” Rogers said. He doesn’t feel as though the company is missing out on worthwhile opportunities, however.

“I believe distance can impact how effective we can be,” he said.

Additionally, once Rogers was brought on as CLC’s president and CEO in September 2016, the company “immediately started working toward an acquiring a larger home care company” so that it could achieve scale in the home care space, he said.

The subsequent acquisition of Select Home Care was finalized on Feb. 1.

“We’ve almost tripled the size [of our home care division],” Rogers said.

CLC expects to benefit from the greater scale and visibility in the Denver market, as well as attract new customers who otherwise wouldn’t have moved into a Cappella or CLC community. Still, the move isn’t without its risks—especially where labor is concerned.

“The demand for [home] care is there, but do we have the staff to provide the service?” Rogers said.

Ownership possibilities

For CLC, growing Cappella Living Solutions made sense from a business—and a mission—standpoint.

“We very deliberately did it for two reasons: the diversification of our revenue streams and the extension of our mission,” Rogers said.

Rogers believes that CLC will eventually own more communities that Cappella manages in the future.

“We are interested in growing our ownership as well,” he explained. “We are looking at Cappella perhaps being an engine to do that.”

Specifically, he envisions a client reaching out to Cappella to manage a soon-to-be-built community. Once that community is completed and it opens to residents, Cappella will assume management responsibilities—and then when the community reaches stabilization, CLC will purchase it.

All the while, it’s possible that CLC will purchase communities not currently managed by Cappella.

“We are also looking at other Midwest and western acquisition opportunities,” he said.

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