Real estate firm Quadrum Global, which has bought and turned around hotels from Chicago to New York to Miami Beach, might be new to senior living, but its executives certainly aren't timid.
For its first project in senior housing, Quadrum plans to build a $95 million, 460-unit development in south Fort Myers, next to Lakes Regional Park. The project, Avida Senior Living, is packed with high-end amenities and represents the company's first move for its new national unit: branded senior living properties.
“The senior living market is fractured, not like hotels, where there is a class of brands,” says Quadrum director of U.S. investments Seth Schumer. “We want to develop a lifestyle-resort property, a place where people want to live.”
Founded in 2005, London-based Quadrum develops, manages and invests in properties worldwide, and up until now has stuck mostly to hospitality, multifamily and a few commercial projects. Since 2009, the company has invested more than $1 billion in equity capital in U.S. real estate. Worldwide projects include commercial developments in London, Kiev and Tbilisi, Georgia. Russian investment banker Oleg Pavlov, a graduate of the American Institute of Business and Economics in Moscow, founded the company.
Schumer got interested in the senior-living sector in 2015 when Quadrum looked into buying a distressed senior living facility in Fort Myers. The company ultimately passed on the deal, but in the process Quadrum executives met and clicked with Colin Marshall, a 20-year executive in senior living management.
Quadrum launched a senior and long-term care division and hired Marshall to run it. Avida Senior Living is its first project. “We share a vision for doing things differently, doing things better,” Marshall says. “We are really aspirational with this project and building our brand.”
The company bought the site for Avida, 32.5 acres on Gladiolus Drive, just west of Interstate 75, in summer 2015. It paid $10.75 million for the property, county records show. Schumer says the location, a short drive to HealthPark Medical Center and Gulf Coast Medical Centers, and also near retail zones on Daniels Parkway, is “pretty special.”
Marshall says the amenities at Avida will also be something special. Plans for the 488,265-square-foot campus include a bar bistro, private theater, dining hall and four open-air courtyards. The project is broken down into 272 independent-living apartments, 125 assisted-living apartments, 35 memory-care apartments and 28 cottage-style residences.
Multiple other projects in the region also promise resort-living and high-quality amenities. One example, Gulf Coast Village, a continuing-care retirement community in nearby Cape Coral, is accepting reservations for Palmview, a new state-of-the-art, 130,980-square-foot assisted-living and memory-care center with 128 residences.
Schumer acknowledges the word “overbuilt” came up in the firm's research for Avida, especially anecdotally. But the data he looked at doesn't necessarily prove the specific market Avida targets is at saturation level, he adds.
Construction on Avida began in January, and the project is on schedule for completion by fall 2018. Schumer says outside financing is a possibility when the company builds more senior living projects, but this one is funded internally.
“We are really excited about this,” Schumer says. “We think we can build a better mousetrap. For many of us here, it's our favorite project.”