Atria Senior Living and Related Companies just announced the formation of a new joint venture.

By Steve Moran

You may have seen the announcement in the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg or someplace in the business press that Atria Senior Living and Related Companies just announced the formation of a new joint venture between them — to build the next generation world-class senior living in major metropolitan areas such as New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, and many other cities — creating a $3 billion dollar portfolio. A few days ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with John Moore, the CEO of Atria, at the Louisville Corporate Support Center, where we talked about this new venture.

Terry Klassen, the founder of Sunrise Senior Senior Living once said:  

“The best senior living has yet to be invented.”  

I believe this is a fantastic, though ultimately, unachievable goal. But it seems likely that this joint venture will be a significant advancement in that quest.

The Big Debate Rages On

We are still very much struggling with the lifestyle/need equation in senior living. It kind of comes down to this.

How likely is it that someone who has the financial resources to stay at home would move into senior living?  

Fleshing it out…

  • Is independent living a lifestyle choice or simply a need-driven assisted living starter plan?

  • When the need for help with ADLs exists, does it make any sense for someone of means to choose assisted living over staying at home with services?

I am going to address these topics more fully in a later article. But this venture is founded on the premise that seniors with means will find luxury senior living to be a compelling offering.

A Look at What to Expect

Here are some of the initial details on this new venture:

  • The communities will be operated by Atria under a new name that has not yet been determined or at least revealed.

  • The reason for the joint venture with Related Companies is that they are already experts at designing and building luxury living environments in some of the most vibrant cities in the world. They have a goal of “catering to every aspect of their residents lifestyle”. With the aging population and existing pipeline, it is a natural extension of what they are already doing.

  • Atria has a core belief that where you live determines how well you live and sees this joint venture as a way to create thoughtful and enriching environments for seniors.  

  • In spite of the aging population there continues to be a significant . . . even severe shortage of senior living communities in many urban markets in and beyond the United States. This is particularly true when looking at the ultra, high-end market.  

  • Related and Atria will work with leading architects, designers, gerontologists, nutritionists, and wellness experts to offer a very customized set of services and amenities for each resident.  

  • Critical to this venture is the idea that urban environments are the ideal way to keep seniors connected to the larger community and family while having access to the services and amenities that are important to their lifestyle.

  • Services and amenities will include: luxury-grade apartments, concierge level service, multiple restaurants, personal training gyms, and wellness pools and spas. There will be partnerships with leading medical facilities with the goal of improving the residents overall wellness. They will also have memory care that will serve residents with Alzheimers and other forms of dementia.

Do We Need More Luxury Senior Living?

This is a hugely important question and one I spent some time exploring with John. He was very careful to say this was not some kind of a look-at-how-cool-and-special-we-are move. Rather, it was driven to serve a slice of the population that is not particularly well served in many markets. John also believes that as these communities come to life, there will be a halo effect that will improve the Atria Senior Living experience across every level.

Perhaps in my mind, one of the most obvious of these benefits is that it will be another weapon in the battle to destigmatize senior living.