Juniper Communities is in expansion mode, entering the Texas market for the first time while also taking over management of communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The additions add 404 assisted living units, 46 memory care units, 140 independent living units, and 156 skilled nursing beds to the company’s portfolio, which now totals 25 communities in Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Bloomfield, New Jersey-based Juniper is known for its influential approach to senior living, including through its Connect4Life model, which has been licensed by AllyAlign Health as an integrated care framework for providers that are considering entering the Medicare Advantage space. And CEO Lynne Katzmann was inducted into the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) Senior Living Hall of Fame in 2020.
Now, Juniper is seizing opportunities to expand its footprint in the midst of industry disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, including by assuming operations for four communities in the Lone Star State.
The four communities – Juniper Village at Spicewood Summit in Austin; Juniper Village at Preston Hollow in Dallas; Juniper Village at Guadalupe Riverfront in Kerrville; and Juniper Village at Lincoln Heights in San Antonio – are owned by Columbia Pacific Advisors. The transaction marks the start of a new working relationship between the Seattle-based firm and the senior living provider. As of January 2020, Columbia Pacific’s senior living portfolio included about 200 open communities.
Additionally, Juniper is assuming operations of a Columbia Pacific-owned senior housing community in New Jersey.
Juniper and Columbia Pacific discussed forming a working relationship for quite some time, and Texas has always been in the company’s sights, Katzmann told SHN.
But Juniper did not want to enter the Texas market without some scale, and preferably in larger markets. San Antonio, Dallas and Austin rank second through fourth, respectively, among the state’s most populous cities. The Kerrville property, meanwhile, is a 60-minute drive from San Antonio and a 90-minute commute from Austin.
Additionally, Kerrville is known for its copious amounts of recreational activities, which Katzmann believes will be a selling point for residents considering a move.
Recommended SHN+ Exclusives
With its entry into Texas, Juniper also established a regional team to help community teams become acclimated to the company’s operational and cultural system including a business manager, clinical liaison, and sales and marketing support.
The first half of 2021 has been one of growth for Juniper. In addition to the new Columbia Pacific relationship and its Texas footprint, the company previously assumed management of three communities in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey owned by LTC Properties (NYSE: LTC) and formerly operated by Senior Lifestyle Corp.
Two of the communities are located near Juniper Village at Forest Hills in Pittsburgh, creating a hub of operations for the Pittsburgh metro area.
Juniper will use this expanded footprint to expand Perennial Consortium, an operator-owned Medicare Advantage network, into Pennsylvania. Juniper’s partners in the venture include Ohio Living and Christian Living Communities, along with managed services partner and risk management company AllyAlign Health.
The intention is that Perennial Consortium plans will eventually be available at Juniper’s Texas communities, as well. But the state has active MA competition. For now, Katzmann is focused on smooth operator transitions and stabilizing occupancy, while getting a better understanding of where Perennial Consortium can fit in and have competitive advantages.
“We want to make sure that all of these buildings are ‘Juniperized’ and meet the evolving needs of the people we serve,” she said.
Further expansion may be in the cards, as well.
“We expect big opportunities and more change amid the recovery from the disruption caused in 2020,” Katzmann said in a release announcing the operator transitions.