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Oxford Living sees opportunity in Ontario seniors housing

Oxford Living, LLC has built a portfolio of 15 Ontario seniors housing communities over the past...

IMAGE: Lundy Manor in Niagara Falls is one of about 15 seniors residences in Ontario now owned and operated by Chicago-based Oxford Living. (Courtesy Oxford)

Lundy Manor in Niagara Falls is one of 15 seniors residences in Ontario now owned and operated by Oxford Living. (Courtesy Oxford)

Oxford Living, LLC has built a portfolio of 15 Ontario seniors housing communities over the past 11 months and is poised to become an even bigger player.

Oxford Living is Chicago-based Oxford Capital, LLC’s seniors housing operating affiliate. It specializes in acquiring, managing and developing 100 per cent private pay seniors housing assets with significant value-add potential throughout the United States and Canada.

Oxford Living president Larry Cummings said the platform adds another revenue stream to the parent company, helps with deal flow and underwriting acquisitions, and enables it to create more value for its properties.

“We built a hotel management company organically for properties we owned about 10 years ago, and we wanted the same advantages in the seniors housing field,” Cummings told RENX.

“If we acquire an under-managed property and bring in a third-party manager, we can’t be sure that the value-add will be there.”

Oxford Capital and Oxford Living are private entities and aren’t affiliated with Oxford Properties, a major Canadian institutional investor in real estate around the world. Oxford Living’s primary operational headquarters is in Burlington, Ont., with regional offices to directly support local operations.

Cummings, who also serves as senior managing director and principal of Oxford Capital, is a Chicago native with 30 years of experience in seniors housing operations and development. He’s served as chief executive officer of both publicly traded and privately held senior housing companies.

Oxford Living’s Ontario portfolio

More than 50 seniors housing assets acquired by Oxford Capital and/or its principals include more than 4,500 units and are valued at approximately $425 million.

The Ontario purchases were made in partnership with Starr Insurance Companies, a global group of insurance and financial services companies headquartered in New York City.

Oxford Living’s Ontario properties total 1,293 units in Stayner, Midland, London, Windsor, Sudbury, Elliot Lake, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Lindsay, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Kitchener and Guelph.

They were acquired in two transactions with a combined value of $180 million.

“The industry is more fractured with more single-facility owners, which means more acquisition opportunities,” said Cummings of why Oxford Living likes the Canadian seniors housing market.

Cumming added that labour turnover at seniors housing facilities is much lower in Canada than in many American markets, which is also attractive.

Oxford Living’s target acquisitions

“In major markets like Toronto and Ottawa, buyers tend to compete and properties are generally higher-priced, so we do like secondary and tertiary markets,” Cummings explained.

“We like properties where they’ve had a long-time owner that wants to get out of the business.”

Cummings said it’s also important, though not absolutely necessary, to acquire seniors housing facilities with favourable reputations.

IMAGE: Larry Cummings is the president of Chicago-based Oxford Living, LLC. (Courtesy Oxford)

Larry Cummings is the president of Chicago-based Oxford Living, LLC. (Courtesy Oxford)

“You see examples of new, well-built properties with large rooms that don’t do as well as older properties that are homey and have a nice feel to them, and have a friendly staff that takes good care of the residents and have good reputations.”

Oxford Living’s independent supportive living communities are designed for seniors living independently in personalized apartments. Services offered include: meals and snacks; housekeeping; recreational and social activities; and around-the-clock access to help and support.

Assisted-living programs are available in some Oxford Living facilities. They provide additional care and support, including medication management and assistance in daily living activities.

Some Oxford Living facilities also provide respite care and assist seniors recovering from a hospital visit or other health circumstance. These short-term stays may also be available for when a caregiver takes a vacation or needs additional temporary support, or for trial periods for seniors seeing if a facility suits them.

Value-add and growth strategies

Oxford Living’s value-add strategies include implementing a revenue management and margin improvement program, property enhancements and property or unit expansions.

“In some cases we’ll add more care levels and provide care that’s not being given at the property,” said Cummings. “We have some enhanced meal options that we’re adding if residents like them.”

Major cosmetic renovations — which Cummings said include new dining room furniture, artwork and landscaping — are underway at the 91-unit Walford Thunder Bay in Thunder Bay and the 92-unit Maple View Terrace in London.

There are plans for a 20-unit expansion at the 68-unit King Place in Midland and an 18-unit expansion at the 56-unit Walford Hillside Park in Elliot Lake, and Cummings said there will probably be others.

Cummings said Oxford Living doesn’t plan to develop any seniors housing facilities in Canada.

It will keep its focus on Ontario for future acquisitions because it believes there are still plenty of opportunities and it likes to be close to its properties since it is much more of a hands-on property management proposition than industrial warehouses.

“We may acquire more in larger secondary cities like London and Kitchener, rather than even smaller markets,” said Cummings.

“We’re probably under-represented there and there are certainly parts of Ottawa and Toronto where we’d like to acquire, too.”


* Oxford Living buys six more Ontario retirement homes

* U.S. investors form JV, buy nine Ontario seniors residences

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