July 24, 2021


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Not a Risk We Would Typically Take: How Developer Confluent is Handling Cost ‘Craziness’ – Senior Housing News

Somewright here in Ohio is a pile of lumber personaled by Confluent Senior Dwelling — And that is .......

Somewright here in Ohio is a pile of lumber personaled by Confluent Senior Dwelling — And that is not regular for the Denver-based mostly developer.

Stockpiling wooden To make the most of in future enchancment tasks is “not a hazard We’d typinamey take,” and one thOn the developer in all probcapability gained’t take as quickly as extra, Based on Confluent Managing Companion John Reinsma. However strong events name Needless to say measures — and with The worth of constructing supplies at historic extremes, these are certainly strong events for senior living builders.

“It was what we felt was needed So as to proceed To fulfill our financial thresprimarytains and counteract A pair of of the craziness that’s Occurring in commodities pricing,” Reinsma said all by way of a current look on the Senior Housing Information podcast, Rework.

The sky-extreme value of constructing supplies has slowed dpersonal and even halted A pair of of the developer’s ongoing tasks. However, the silver lining of that sdecrease tempo is that Confluent was In a place to drill dpersonal on group designal and collaborate with its enterprise and working companions on new cas quickly aspts. One Outcomes of this work is the creation of what Confluent name its Complete Well being Normal.

“What we’re exactly making an try to do right here is consider the designal of senior housing that retains the consumer and The client in thoughts and permits the operator to ship health care and hospitality in a healthful and bodily useful method,” Reinsma added.

Highmilds of Reinsma’s podcast interview are under, edited for size and readcapability. Subscribe To transform by way of Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud. The interview Occurred in late Might.

On how 2020 went for Confluent:

It’s been a tough yr and a half, to be reliable.

Sadly, our working portfolio was not Resistant to The identical influences That Every one The completely different groups throughout the nation Simply like us Dealt with, with respect to occupancy and restriction factors.

I exactly feel with respect to enchancment, we’ve exactly been Specializing in two separate factors. One was The expertjects that we have been Engaged on. Going into early 2020, we had 4 tasks that we had beneath land administration that we deliberate on breaking floor on. And given the unsurety of the world and Utterly the chaos we have been all living in, we felt like We would have appreciated To place them on primarytain to see how everyfactor was going to play out.

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We effectively reneacquirediated three out of the 4 land contracts that we had. After which We now have subsequently damaged floor on two out of these three, with the third one To start out enchancment in June.

So for us, this was An limitless accomplishment, and one factor we’re exactly Joyful with. Tright here have been A lot of hurdles To tug that off. The very biggest I might say was in all probcapability placing collectively the capital stack. We had A lot of conversations with our buyers, but finally, they acquired here to The identical conclusion that we did: thOn the senior housing enterprise was going to shortly rebound from the pandemic and The fundapsychologicals of the asset class as an funding will primarytain strong as quickly as the disaster acquired here to a conclusion, which we’re seeing proper now.

So, we have been able To Search out out the equity facet of factors. The lenders have been A particular story.

Once we had the equity lined up, we nonethemuch less needed to discover debt for all three provides, which as you’ve heard many events, was an monupsychological problem. And that i exactly feel The fact that we have been In a place to safe three separate mortgages For mannequin spanking new enchancment in 2020 for floor-breaks that happened early 2021 is An exact testament to the management of Confluent — our CEO, CFO and our finance group — and their capability to leverage previous relationships and use our monitor doc. That was A troublesome but Good level that happened with an extreme quantity of exhausting work and choice-making.

The second stempo of focus was Barely Barely extra sturdy, as a Outcome of it involved us giving up administration. It was exactly Specializing in our operators and The expertjects that we had beneath asset administration or have been beneath enchancment. And we found exactly shortly in February and March that Definitely one of the Neatest factor that we might do to assist our operators was to get out of their method. Permit them to do whOn they do biggest, which is Look after the refacetnts.

Since We now have put all these tasks on primarytain, we used that pause as An alternative to reconsider our designal requirements and protocols, and decide, Can we Want to make a factorary change to The biggest method that we’re strategying senior housing enchancment and designal?

We Arrange conferences or Zoom names with every architect and inside designaler that we’ve labored with since we started doing senior housing enchancment, and we sat dpersonal and just itemizingened to them. We needed To itemizingen to what Sort of cas quickly aspts That they had, what completely different cas quickly aspts completely different builders or operators have been implementing. We pulled collectively thIs primarily pretty sizey itemizing of cas quickly aspts and designal cas quickly aspts that we heard from them, and we’ve talked about all these with our operators. That led to one factor that we’ve referred to as The whole Well being Normal — we’ll Converse about that later. Neverthemuch less it’s exactly an revolutionary plan for us to reconsider senior housing enchancment in our portfolio throughout the nation To assemble healthful stempos and constructings.

On how senior living enchancment has Find your self to be Harder in 2021:

It’s difficult in A mannequin new method, which has to do with enchancment and commodities prices and all of that craziness that’s Occurring.

The Methods in which it’s nonethemuch less difficult with respect to the pandemic, we’re nonethemuch less Dealing with some notion Issues with what senior housing is. It’s certainly dissipating, but A lot of the tales that acquired here out early on Inside the pandemic, And a lot of of the confusion Regarding the distinction between assisted living and A gifted nursing facility or hospice relative to unbiased living — tright here was A lot of confusion, broadly, throughout the nation. That has acquiredten Tons greater.

We have some great enterprise advocacy groups Which have carried out some great work. I do know you guys have coated the People of Seniors Housing (POSH) initiative. We have been a assister of that very early on. A lot of that work was essential and made some exact inroads, but we’re nonethemuch less Dealing with A scarcity of full understanding of how protected our refacetnts are in our constructings And the method protected They’ve been Over the previous yr and a half. So as that’s an stempo wright here it’s nonethemuch less strong.

I even Want to refer again to these tasks that we Positioned on primarytain from 2020. I exactly feel thOn tright here’s a line of demarcation, and it’s The expertjects that have been worthd And commenced earlier than the financial system started roaring again; And completely different people that have been started [after the financial system imshowd], wright here we’re at now. So on these three tasks that I talked about earlier, fortunately, two of them broke floor earlier than lumber went loopy. After which the third one Goes To interrupt floor subsequent month, and that one is Type of a tweener. So fortunately, we had A lot of that worthd out and dedicated to from the subcontractors forward of time — That is in Ohio.

However We truly acquired hit with the lumber. I don’t know what it’s at right now, but it’s certainly 4 To 5 events greater than it was Once we worthd the deal initially in 2019, earlier than we put it on primarytain. One factor that we’ve carried out on that enterprise particularly is That we’ll not have a assured most worth on that deal from our widespread contractor For An further in all probcapability three weeks, but we’ve already purchased the lumber.

So we now personal A whole bunch of wooden that’s sitting in a warehouse in Ohio ready for us To interrupt floor and use. That may not a hazard We’d typinamey take, and One which I don’t anticipate will take as quickly as extra. Neverthemuch less it was what we felt was needed So as to proceed To fulfill our financial thresprimarytains and counteract A pair of of the craziness that’s Occurring in commodities pricing. So as that’s Type of what’s happened Prior to now. We don’t see this altering anytime quickly.

Tright here Shall be a aid valve right here, We’ll discover equilibrium as quickly as extra Inside the senior housing enchancment world Which will come from each The current and the demand facet. However as of proper now, and Inside the shut to future, That is exactly problematic. And it’s preventing tasks from being financialally by way ofble.

On what has acquiredten simpler Since the start of the pandemic:

The very Very first factor that Includes thoughts is The power to discover web websites and The power To barter time durations.

In 2019, I might say that on just purely The event facet, our largest headache and our largest hurdle To beat Can be to discover land web websites that each met our standards with respect to demographics And website and met The expert forma with respect to The worth. And even Do You’d like to can Work out each of these, Then you undoubtedly Desired to Deal with land sellers who exactly had felt like, And probably did have, a majority of the administration in that neacquirediation, and so have been requiring time durations And shutting and escrow money that we just have beenn’t snug with. That has modified.

We just put a website beneath contract currently wright here we have been In a place To understand developer returns. We Wouldn’t have acquiredten these in 2019. I mightn’t say land has acquiredten cheaper by any implys, but We’re seeing The power To barter land contracts in time durations That are Barely bit extra favorable And currents us Barely bit extra time to get by way of The tactic.

Ancompletely different One which Includes thoughts Beset off of final yr and a half is work togetherion with cities and going by way of the entitlements course of. I exactly feel it’s Find your self to be extra clear than ever how important, how essential, senior housing is to The power To primarytain seniors protected Inside the communities wright here they’ve lived, labored, raised houseprimarytains and worshipped in. I exactly feel the education has elevated with cities, They typinamey Take A look at senior housing Much extra favorably than they did Prior to now, which Is certainly a revenue.

On The connection between builders and suppliers:

The relationship between the developer/proprietor and the operator Is completely essential to success On this enterprise.

I can’t over-stress how superb MorningStar Senior Dwelling and Harbor Retirement Associates (HRA) have carried out by way of this disaster. The quantity of stress and obligation thOn they’ve Dealt with and the obstacles thOn they’ve overcome Is completely astounding. Our relationship with each of these groups has been yrs Inside the making, but we mightn’t exactly feel extra fortunate to have been aligned with them.

We’ve On A daily basis seen our operators as companions, and that companionship starts On the very starting. We don’t put a website beneath contract with out our operator, having already Checked out it and vetted it and labored on it with us.

I Type of alluded to this earlier than, but one of our primary teinternets at Confluent Senior Dwelling is that Definitely one of The solely Methods in which We will exceed expectations of our buyers is To assemble constructings that set our operators up For fulfillment. And The A method We will accomplish that Is primarily by way of true companionship that has the operators weighing in closely on designal and website enchancment, but exactly on designal, To make sure that we’re constructing constructings that get them whOn they need with respect to health care and hospitality.

As refacetnts and houseprimarytains work together with a constructing, They typinamey have Questions on Covid — what have we modified? How are they protected if one factor like this have been to happen as quickly as extra — The power for us to have that companionship and know that we’re shiping constructings that our operators can stand behind And may reply these querys with readcapability and positivity has exactly Find your self to be extra essential than ever.

I exactly feel The primary And probably Most essential factor [is to] Simply primarytain in thoughts to are aligned with the operator on how They will run the constructing, whOn the associated lease-up enterpriseions are, the margin expectations — have all of these essential conversations upfront.

Tright here’s two factors. One, is Simply primarytain in thoughts to’re on The identical Website that, as a developer, you understand whOn The current-buttons are In your operators. What are the factors That you merely need to be shiping, and what are the querys That you merely need to be asking them early on to as quickly as extra To solely primarytain in thoughts to’re shiping constructings That are setting them up For fulfillment?

On Confluent’s Complete Well being Normal for designal:

We’re defining The whole Well being Normal as a hoitemizingic and revolutionary designal strategy to senior living enchancment That comes with improvements To Guarantee refacetnts’ bodily and psychological health. And The prime product is a healthful environment for senior staff and visitors, each bodily and psychologinamey.

This cas quickly aspt was born out of a designal effort that we have been Engaged on with Morningstar already on two tasks: one in Mission Viejo, California [pictured above]; and then ancompletely different one in Observatory Park right here in Denver. We have been already collaborating with them to work on bringing some slicing-edge utilized sciences into the constructing and making these as An factor of our designal requirements. We have been In the midst of that when this pandemic hit, and so we understandd that We would have appreciated to take this to The subsequent diploma and Work out — with On A daily basis that we spent with architects and inside designalers — what modifications We Want to implement into our current constructings and the constructings That are beneath designal or beneath enchancment. After which, what Should make it into the designal going forward?

What’s fascinating is that A lot of The very exactityors or A lot of the extrememilds that we landed on are behind the partitions, if You will. So, tright here are factors Which may not be immediately apparent to you Everytime you strolled Right into a constructing. For event, with the HVAC system, we’re using this far UVC mild area which assists scale again the unfold of airborne mediated microbial illnesses. We have antimicrobial principally everyfactor, Similar to counterprime surfaces, and so on cetera. Tright here’s a kiosk system for seammuch less and distanced signal-in. The operator Morningstar took on telehealth teaching for an infection administration. These are A lot of factors that you don’t see Everytime you stroll into the constructing immediately.

We furtherly made some exact modifications To what’s apparent. Probably the most notable one is An exact Confacetr outdoors stempo for eating. We are particularly programming outdoors eating stempo, wright hereas Prior to now, we Might have had a patio with some chairs that have been Near the eating room.

Now, we’re saying, ‘Yeah, we’re going to have outdoors eating as An factor of our culinary offering,’ and it’s Higher than merely An outfacet grill. Having outdoors entry for refacetnts Inside The Sort of mannequins, patios, extra indoor-outdoors stempo, wright herever potential, that’s An exact change and one factor that we’re already seeing An excellent response to from refacetnts and from houseprimarytains.

So, You mix all of this, and it’s this Complete Well being Normal. What we’re exactly making an try to do right here is consider the designal of senior housing that retains the consumer and The client in thoughts and permits the operator to ship healthcare and hospitality in a healthful and bodily useful method.

I heard this from from Matt Turner, [managing partner] over at MorningStar: What we don’t Have to do is redesignal our constructings for the 100-yr flood, which implys we’re not going to make these factorary modifications to The biggest method that we strategy designal so that, in 5 yrs, somebody strolls into one of our constructings and says, oh, man, this factor Ought to have been designaled in 2020, and Take A look at what loopy factors they did for Covid.

All of the modifications that we’re implementing Ought to be accretive to the designal, and one factor that Shall be sizey-finaling in a useful method. That HVAC system and antimicrobial air filtration system, That is one factor that you’ll by no implys see, but It is one factor that you’ll Be succesful of Converse about with refacetnts and their houseprimarytains. That may not one factor that Goes to have some adverse influence on designal. When we acquired here up with this Complete Well being Normal, we have been very cognizant of exactly that — of not making modifications now That are so brief-sighted Which will make our constructings out of date Inside the shut to-future.

On The expertspect Of latest enchancment in 2021:

Of the three that we’re Engaged on now, We now have two beneath enchancment Which Are only wrapping up. One Is accomplished and ready for licensure. Ancompletely different one Shall be carried out Inside The subsequent six weeks. We have the three that we broke floor on this yr, which are Mission Viejo, Observatory Park, and then the third One which I talked about in Ohio is in Shaker Heights, which is a suburb of Cdiplomaand. That’s all we’re going To have The power To tug off this yr, unfortunately, as a Outcome of of the commodity pricing.

We had a enterprise that we have been Engaged on wright here we truly just time periodinated the contract, as a Outcome of it was slated for a 2021 floorbreak in the direction of The prime of the yr. And we just can’t Work out a Method to make that pencil. That said, we furtherly currently just put A mannequin new website beneath contract. By The objective we get by way of entitlements and designal, it’ll be a mid-2022 floorbreak. We exactly exactly feel like by That time, we’ll Begin to see some aid.

Going again to that equilibrium remark I made earlier, we’re certainly nonethemuch less lively. And as a response to what we heard from our buyers and what we’re seeing Inside the capital markets, I might say, in some strategies, we’re extra bullish than ever on the stempo.

I’ll do A quick facet notice right here: Confluent Senior Dwelling is a subsidiary of Confluent Development, which is A a lot hugeger, full-service enterprise exact property enchancment agency furtherly based mostly right here in Denver. We don’t just view the world by way of the senior housing mild, we furtherly do industrial and mixed-use and retail and hospitality and multihousehold, et cetera. When we Take A look On the world Of financial exact property with respect to all the asset packages that we work in, We’re just as if No extra bullish on senior housing than we ever have been.

Actually, I might say We now have spent the final 10 yrs Getting ready for proper now. We’ve been Inside the senior housing stempo for 9 yrs, and We now have spent these 9 yrs preparing for what’s about to happen to us from A requirement cycle proper now. And That options everyfactor — creating sizey-finaling relationships with our operators and taking 20-plus constructings by way of The entire enchancment cycle.

We’ve gone by way of a handful of gross sales to show the cas quickly aspt to our buyers and understand whOn the returns can Appear to be. And we’ve exactly Find your self to be college students of senior housing on the entitlement facet, The enchancment facet, the asset administration facet. All of that work has been for us to be In a place to be A very forward-considering, aggressive senior housing developer, as we put together for this baby boomer wave That everyone is Aware of has not even conagencyed up but.

On what capital suppliers are Looking for in 2021:

Once I hear capital, I Confacetr each debt and equity, And they are two completely different animals. I’ll do my biggest To answer this as our CFO would with respect to debt.

As I talked about, we’ll do three new provides this yr, all three of these are with completely different banks. They’re all conventional enchancment lenders, so we Did not go dpersonal the debt fund or the mezza9 route. And wright hereas time durations are Inferior to they have been, in 2019, the hole exactly wasn’t that huge with respect to a enchancment mortgage that We’d have signaled up for a yr and a half in the past. I might say that leverage has come dpersonal from pre-pandemic levels. Recourse has stayed The identical Or even even gone up. LIBOR flooring have Find your self to be widespreadplace, and tright here are nonethemuch less A lot Of huge gamers That are on the facetlines. So Once we went by way of these three tasks to line up the debt, we certainly acquired much less time period sheets than We’d have Prior to now.

I confacetr That is Starting To vary. I’m listening to about More and more extra lenders coming again. With The prevailing lenders that We now have, we’ve heard a quantity of events thOn they will Find your self to be extra selective on who they’re lending to, on which tasks they’re lending on. Relationships have Find your self to be Much extra essential. And The huge factor that we’re listening to is that previous efficiency exactly is turning Right into a gating merchandise. So It is altering on the lending facet.

With respect to equity, we’re Engaged on one enterprise proper now with an institutional partner, which Goes Very properly. Neverthemuch less The Reprimaryder of our tasks have been capitalized by way of A combination Of private extreme internet-worth and household workplaces. And we’ve gone by way of three extreme-internet-worth or private-equity fundraisers. The third one was truly accomplished this yr, in 2021.

As You will Have The power to think about, we had A lot of Questions on Covid and operations and The method forward for senior housing. We undoubtedly did some educating for A pair of of our new buyers on the variations between levels of acuity And the method the operators are dealing with the pandemic. We acquired that fund shutd. Actually, I exactly feel we Might have even been oversubscribed. And that’s one factor that we’re exactly Joyful with and a testament to our management. However I exactly feel it’s furtherly a testament to The will of buyers to proceed, or in some circumstances for The primary time, be lively Inside the senior housing asset class.

One factor that we heard Which will be a change Beset off of pandemic is that it exactly Appears like buyers are chasing and Looking for yield wright herever They will discover it. And enchancment is one stempo wright here they see That probcapability thOn they’re not discovering in A lot of completely different exact property asset packages or exact property fundings. So, that has been a change — The primary goal and querys relating to the yield of The expertjects and the money circulateing capabilities.

We have been Type of already on this monitor earlier than, but the extreme-barrier-to-entry is ancompletely different capital focus that is shifted. And We’re exactly seeing A lot of querys And a lot of of demand for the extreme-barrier-to-entry, and that time period will get thrpersonal round Tons. We view that to imply web websites and tasks That are troublesome to get carried out. Which may come Inside The Sort of An prolonged rezone of An truly tight website that takes some exact inventive designal or tasks that take time and power and funding to get them out. We’re already seeing that work and that funding Leads to greater NOI and decrease cap costs. And that has exactly been a shift from our buyers, To Confacetr these Kinds of tasks.

On the road forward in senior living enchancment:

The pent-up demand that everyone’s talking about is exact, A minimal of from our perspective. March and April had the extremeest quantity of transfer-ins that we’ve ever had in our historic previous. I exactly feel for The subsequent three To six months, that pent-up demand will proceed. However then after that, it’s going to slowly transfer again and taper off to our conventional transfer-in velocity.

On a 12-month timeframe, one factor I’m very involved with is the availcapability of and The worth of labor in our enterprise. I don’t see that fixing itself, And positively not Inside The subsequent 12 months. Tright here’s some know-how that We will make some modifications on the periphery. However that’s one factor Which will have a 12-month-plus influence. Regardmuch less of The very Incontrovertible exactity that that’s on the operation facet, that does circulate into enchancment, as a Outcome of it influences The biggest method that we beneathwrite tasks and it influences the margins. That’s An prolonged-time period cas quickly asrn.

With respect to just pure enchancment, The subsequent three To six months are going to be exactly strong for all The set offs that I said earlier than. I talked about how we had To buy lumber — and we don’t personal wooden, that’s not what we do. So as that’s The Type of stuff that has to get carried out Inside The subsequent three To six months.

Longer-time period, I do confacetr that we’ll Uncover a aid valve. It’s exactly A question of efinalicity. Construction pricing and labor can regulate so shortly and A lot faster than The power To regulate costs and margins. It takes time to discover that equilibrium. And that i exactly feel that that’s a 12- to 18-month cycle.

Now that said, if we proceed to see the the quantity Of latest starts plummet as We now have for the final yr and a half — and it’s unlikely Which will proceed Ultimately — we Might very properly get again out of equilibrium within You understand, the 24- to 36-month timeframe as we see demand Begin to outtempo current. As On A daily basis, it’s a pendulum that’s swinging. However It is going to recuperate and that’s The first set off we proceed to aggressively pursue new markets and new provides.