Tag Archives: Houston

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The Buckingham’s Expansion Takes Shape in Houston

Scaffolding has appeared as The Buckingham expands its life plan community campus in Houston. This Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation-sponsored community is in the process of adding 106 independent living apartments, 27 assisted living units, 18 memory support suites and 32 skilled nursing beds.

Workers are currently installing windows and exterior finishes. The project will be completed in phases, with the earliest phase opening in 2017’s second quarter.

In addition to its duties as management consultant at The Buckingham, Greystone is also serving as development consultant on this expansion project.

See construction photos below. Learn more about The Buckingham.

Buckingham 1 Buckingham 2


Announcing the 2016 Greystone Diamond Awards

Successful senior living management requires excellence across a number of dimensions. Each year, Greystone tracks the achievement of the communities it manages across these dimensions, including:

  • Resident Satisfaction
  • Employee Satisfaction
  • First Impressions
  • Financial Performance
  • Hospitality
  • Task Force Participation
  • Leadership Development
  • Community Involvement
  • Passing of Health Care Surveys

Communities that perform at an exceptional level on a consistent basis are honored through Greystone’s Diamond Awards, given each summer at The Greystone Event. This year, five communities earned single diamond awards and one community earned a two-diamond award. Here’s a look at this year’s winners:

Two-Diamond Recognition

Santa Marta
Sponsor: Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas
Location: Olathe, Kan.
ED: Chet Surmaczewicz

One-Diamond Recognition

Aberdeen Heights
Sponsor: Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America
Location: Kirkwood, Mo.
ED: Jamie Kneen

The Buckingham
Sponsor: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation
Location: Houston, Texas
ED: Julie Fenske

Sponsor: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation
Location: Dallas, Texas
ED: John Falldine

Edgewood Summit
Sponsor: ABH, Inc.
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
ED: Diane Gouhin

Querencia at Barton Creek
Sponsor: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation
Location: Austin, Texas
ED: Nate Weyand

See photos from the Diamond Award presentation in the gallery below.

2016 Diamond 1 2016 Diamond 2 2016 Diamond 3 2016 Diamond 4 2016 Diamond 5 2016 Diamond 6


Marketing Strategies and Tactics: What Worked in 2015?

Greystone’s marketing team is working in markets around the country, supporting sponsors as they build relationships with prospective residents and strive to reach or maintain stabilized occupancy.

In 2015, Greystone helped these sponsors make significant gains in filling independent living units, as well as other levels of care. Here’s a rundown of some of the communities Greystone works with and strategies and tactics that led to progress at each:

The Amsterdam at Harborside

Port Washington, N.Y.

Sponsor: Amsterdam Nursing Home

Total IL Units: 229

Dec. 2014: 197 filled (86%)

Dec. 2015: 217 filled (95%)

Greystone has served as marketing consultant to The Amsterdam since it was first planned and financed. In 2015, the community’s marketing team made the push past 95 percent occupancy in independent living thanks to a focus on the following:

  • Team Development: Greystone provided The Amsterdam’s marketing team with financial training so that sales counselors could speak more fluently about the many benefits of the community’s contracts. A series of Greystone’s marketing regionals also visited the community to bring fresh voices, different perspectives and new ideas to the on-site team.
  • Resident Involvement: The Amsterdam’s residents wanted to be more involved in the marketing of the community, and they offered a number of ideas for boosting sales. Their input was incorporated into marketing, and their involvement also created an excitement and energy that translated into increased referrals. The resident marketing committee continues to meet monthly and actively participate in all marketing activities, including events, testimonials and advertisements.
  • Improved Culture: In 2015, The Amsterdam’s marketing team focused on positivity and setting short-term, attainable goals to build momentum. It sounds simple, but creating the right team culture helped propel the community beyond 95 percent independent living occupancy.

The marketing success of 2015 has allowed The Amsterdam to consider a second phase.

Learn more about The Amsterdam at Harborside.

Amsterdam 2

The Barrington of Carmel

Carmel, Ind.

Sponsor: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation

Total IL Units: 134

Dec. 2014: 102 filled (76%)

Dec. 2015: 122 filled (91%)

The Barrington is the first out-of-Texas venture by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), a long-time Greystone client. The Barrington enjoyed fast success that project team members expected to continue building. But, as sales reached a plateau in 2014, the marketing team focused in 2015 on breaking through and reaching 90 percent independent living occupancy. It was able to achieve that goal through an emphasis on:

  • Simplifying: In some ways, The Barrington was a victim of its own success. A wave of leads and inbound calls made it difficult for marketing team members to develop the relationships that are so important to securing sales. Once the issue was identified, strides were made to simplify the processes and refocus on relationships.
  • Prioritizing: Simplification meant making tough decisions. SQLC had made the investment in a series of lead-generating events that featured celebrity speakers. The last of these events was cancelled in favor of developing existing leads.
  • Capitalizing: The same community benefits that led to early success at The Barrington existed throughout 2015 just as they had in the blue-sky phase. The marketing team refocused on selling those benefits and the sales followed close behind.

The Barrington has never missed a covenant, and its 2015 push to 90 percent independent living occupancy makes it another SQLC success story — this time out of state.

Learn more about The Barrington of Carmel.


Miralea Phase II

Louisville, Ky.

Sponsor: Masonic Homes of Kentucky

Total IL Units: 30

July 2015: 24 filled (80%)

August 2015: 27 filled (90%)

Miralea’s first phase reached stabilized occupancy in June 2013, less than a year after opening. This success paved the way for a second phase, which adds 30 independent living apartments to the existing 90 apartments and 12 cottages. As with the first phase, these additional units met with a warm welcome from the market thanks to the following:

  • Strong Reputation: Masonic Homes of Kentucky enjoys an incredibly positive brand image in the Louisville market. Seniors know the campus, and they’re familiar with Miralea — the only Life Care community in the Louisville area. This strong reputation helped set up the marketing team for success.
  • Collaboration: The management team at Masonic Homes of Kentucky is ambitious and strategic. Led by President and CEO Gary Marsh, this management team has a vision for where it wants to go and how to get there, which means it is ready and willing to equip marketing team members with the tools and resources needed for success.
  • Momentum: The waiting list that developed after the completion of Miralea Phase I helped feed the success of Miralea Phase II. Masonic Homes of Kentucky is intent on maintaining this momentum to protect its market share.

This small Phase II expansion of Miralea makes way for a third phase, which is currently planned as a separate community on the Masonic Homes of Kentucky Campus. Called The Meadow, this new community will include 122 independent living and 40 assisted living apartments. Its Priority Program secured 280 members by the end of 2015.

Learn more about Miralea.


The Woodlands at Furman

Greenville, S.C.

Sponsor: Upstate Senior Living

Total IL Units: 132

Dec. 2014: 114 filled (86%)

Dec. 2015: 121 filled (92%)

The Woodlands at Furman enjoys a prime location, tucked at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just moments away from downtown Greenville and Furman University. As part of a concerted push to stabilized occupancy, the community’s marketing team focused on the following:

  • Urgency: The marketing team offered what they called a “Summer of Opportunity.” The Woodlands offered incentives to prospects who were ready and willing to move in within 30 days.
  • Pricing: The team also created premium pricing on units coming available that had proven most desirable. Premium pricing on premium units created a discount effect on the units with longer shelf lives.
  • Goals: Throughout the summer, 90 percent remained the goal. Reaching 90 percent in independent living would mean stabilized occupancy. This goal proved effective in part because it followed the SMART goal format: specific, measureable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound.

The Woodlands reached 90 percent occupancy on Sept. 30, at the end of the Summer of Opportunity. The marketing team didn’t stop there, pushing to 92 percent by the end of the year.

Learn more about The Woodlands at Furman.



Tulsa, Okla.

Sponsor: The William K. Warren Foundation

Total IL Units: 328

Dec. 2014: 290 filled (89%)

Dec. 2015: 294 filled (90%)

In the competitive Tulsa market, Montereau offers a campus, programs and services that seniors find attractive. In 2015, the goal was to capitalize on these offerings to move past (and remain beyond) 90 percent occupancy. To accomplish this goal, the community’s marketing team employed the following:

  • Lead Scoring: Leading scoring is a method of prioritizing prospective residents to focus on those most likely to choose a community. Montereau’s marketing team used lead scoring in 2015 to focus time, energy and resources on building relationships with its best leads.
  • Sales Training: Greystone facilitated in-depth training for Montereau’s sales team, including sessions on advanced skills like discovery, behavioral styles and effective listening.
  • Wellness: Montereau places an emphasis on the eight pillars of wellness and vitality. The marketing team partnered with health services to make on-campus wellness opportunities part of the sales pitch.

Montereau also established a premiere waitlist as the community surpassed 90 percent in independent living. Members of the premiere waitlist make a 10 percent deposit in exchange for twice-monthly meals, access to the health and wellness centers, as well as special invitations to events. The premiere waitlist gives the market a reason to investigate Montereau, which will help drive sales even after having reached stabilization.

Learn more about Montereau.


The Westerly

Wichita, Kan.

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America

Total IL Units: 90

Dec. 2014 Filled: NA

Dec. 2015 Filled: 45

The Westerly is the independent living portion of a significant repositioning project at Wichita Presbyterian Manor. In 2015, the community’s marketing team faced the challenge of refreshing an established brand and introducing a new contract type with a healthcare benefit — a first in the area. They focused on the following:

  • Education: Working with Greystone and GlynnDevins, the community executed on a communications plan that targeted prospective customers as well as existing residents — those who would be temporarily displaced during the project. Within 12 months, Wichita Presbyterian Manor had reached the 75 percent in presales needed to trigger The Westerly’s financing.
  • Pricing: Sales continued as construction began. Second-story apartments in the three-level community lagged slightly, and so the project team developed pricing that quickly moved second-floor units and left only the more desirable first- and third-level apartments.
  • Combating Cancellations: Any in-development community is required to send 60-day letters to let depositors know completion is imminent. In Wichita, the project team brainstormed ways to avoid the cancellations that are so common when 60-day letters are mailed. The final plan was taking a leap of faith by celebrating the milestone of opening the building. The marketing team held a celebration, personally delivered the 60-day letters, and congratulated the depositors on the great decision they had made.

The Westerly opened on Dec. 2, 2015, and the community reached 50 percent occupancy in just 29 days — quite a feat considering the time of year. The positive market response and lack of cancellations have positioned The Westerly to fill well ahead of schedule. As of February 2016, the community was 70 percent full — just two-and-a-half months after opening.

Learn more about The Westerly.

The Westerly 1

The Terraces of Boise

Boise, Idaho

American Baptist Homes of the West

Total IL Units: 161

Sept. 2015: 55 filled (34%)

Dec. 2015: 83 filled (52%)

The Terraces of Boise went through a phased opening in 2015. The first phase opened on July 27, 2015, with 80 units, the second phase opened in October 2015 with 30 units, and the final phase opened in January 2016 with 51 units. This created a unique marketing environment in which the sales team used the following strategies and tactics:

  • Express Move-Ins: Depositors who selected an apartment in the second or third phase were given the opportunity to move into a first-phase apartment temporarily until their permanent apartment was ready. This express move-in program helped accelerate early occupancy and develop momentum.
  • Experience: Community management goes all-out for move-ins. New residents get a red bow on their doors, a welcome basket, lunch, a thorough walk through and efficient close. The move-in experience feels like a special celebration, and it sets the tone for an exceptional resident experience that leads to referrals and reduced attrition.
  • Persistence: The marketing team worked urgently to push occupancy before the end of the year. They used urgency tools and depositor incentives to accelerate move-ins. In the end, the hard work and creative tools paid off as The Terraces reached 51.5 percent with 83 occupied by the end of the year.

Throughout the development and opening processes, the marketing and management teams have worked in complementary fashion to make The Terraces a place where Boise seniors want to be. Those collaborative efforts are paying off and poising the community for continued success in 2016.

Learn more about The Terraces of Boise.


The Buckingham Phase II

Houston, Texas

Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation

Total IL Units: 106

Sept. 2015: 75 sold (71%)

Dec. 2015: 78 sold (74%)

The Buckingham is an SQLC-sponsored campus, a continuing care retirement community in the heart of Houston that enjoys a strong brand reputation and a lengthy waitlist. As the community prepared for a second phase that would include 106 independent living units, the marketing team took advantage of the following:

  • Competitive Advantage: The Buckingham enjoys a stellar reputation in the market, as evidenced by a waitlist of 20 to 30 prospective residents it’s kept for seven-plus years. This reputation, plus the community’s status as the only Life Care product in the immediate area, formed a competitive advantage that helped the marketing team clearly articulate The Buckingham’s value.
  • Intimate Events: Rather than large, seminar-style events, the marketing team held more personal dinners that included 20 to 25 prospective residents at a time. These smaller events were perfect for building on the existing waitlist and gathering momentum for The Buckingham’s second phase.
  • Technology: The community used an iPad application that allowed residents to take virtual tours of the yet-to-be-built apartments and get an in-depth idea of what their unit at The Buckingham’s second phase would look and feel like. This app proved much more effective at demonstrating the openness and spaciousness of these units than a traditional model would have.

The Buckingham’s successful second phase will expand its market share and set the community on a path for continued success.

Learn more about The Buckingham.




SQLC Communities Screen Stirring Documentary Film

Music holds power unmatched by any pill. That’s the idea behind a new documentary, Alive Inside, that explores music’s “capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity.” The film features the non-profit organization Music & Memory, which uses music to fight memory loss and a broken healthcare system. The result is a stirring film that earned the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation is screening Alive Inside at three of its communities this week:

  • Jan. 26: The Stayton at Museum Way (Fort Worth)
  • Jan. 27: The Buckingham (Houston)
  • Jan. 28: Mirador (Corpus Christi)

Stephanie Hoffman of Texas Culture Change Coalition will present the film and lead a post-screening Q&A at each community. The SQLC Foundation is responsible for bringing the film and Stephanie Hoffman to its residents. Future events will be scheduled for SQLC’s other communities: Querencia (Austin), Edgemere (Dallas) and The Barrington (Carmel, Ind.).

See the film’s trailer using the video player below.

Learn more about Senior Quality Lifestyles and its communities.

Alive Inside


SQLC Surpasses $1 Billion in Project Financing

Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC) celebrated a significant milestone this fall when it surpassed $1 billion in project financing. This achievement is even more remarkable considering SQLC was founded in 1999, making it a relative newcomer in the non-profit senior living industry.

“We understand that success in senior living revolves around more than a bottom line; it revolves around creating a culture of caring and excellence that you would envision your aging parents to experience,” SQLC President and CEO Charles Brewer said in a press release. “As a nonprofit, we are able to reinvest in our residents’ life experiences and continue to create environments that are not only physically appealing and secure, but financially secure as well.”

SQLC’s operating communities include:

  • Edgemere (Dallas, TX)
  • The Buckingham (Houston, TX)
  • Querencia at Barton Creek (Austin, TX)
  • The Stayton at Museum Way (Fort Worth, TX)
  • Mirador (Corpus Christi, TX)
  • The Barrington of Carmel (Carmel, IN)

Greystone serves as development, marketing and management consultant at each of the projects listed above. See photos of these communities in the gallery below.

Learn more about Senior Quality Lifestyles.


Edgemere (Dallas, TX)


The Buckingham (Houston, TX)


Querencia at Barton Creek (Austin, TX)


The Stayton at Museum Way (Fort Worth, TX)


Mirador (Corpus Christi, TX)


The Barrington of Carmel (Carmel, IN)



Financing Paves Way for Expansion at The Buckingham

Proceeds from a $109.38 million bond financing closed this month will allow The Buckingham, Houston’s premier continuing care retirement community, to serve more residents and further its non-profit mission.

Since first opening in May 2005, The Buckingham has served the Houston area with high-quality continuing care services. This Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation-sponsored CCRC sits in the heart of Houston’s Memorial-Tanglewood area; its location, plus excellent amenities and an emphasis on hospitality, have led to marketing success and an opportunity for expansion.

Expansion is now possible thanks to this financing, underwritten by Ziegler. After purchasing six adjacent acres in late 2014, The Buckingham will use the bond proceeds to add 106 independent living apartments, 27 assisted living units, 18 memory support suites and 32 skilled nursing beds. To accommodate the increased number of residents, The Buckingham will also add 111 underground and 292 surface-level parking spaces.

The Buckingham’s original construction included 204 independent living apartments, 43 assisted living units, 16 memory support suites and 60 skilled nursing beds on 17 acres. Once the expansion is completed, The Buckingham will sit on a 23-acre campus that includes a total of 310 independent living apartments, 70 assisted living units, 32 memory support suites and 92 skilled nursing beds.

From Greystone Senior Vice President Stuart Jackson: “SQLC has solidified itself as a leading provider of senior services in Texas and beyond, and the recent expansion and repositioning of The Buckingham will cement its position as the dominate CCRC provider in greater Houston. The enhancement of living environments on the campus will better serve current and future generations of Houstonians. The marketplace has responded quickly to this change having achieved over 65 percent presales in a matter of months while maintaining high occupancies in the existing campus. This growth at The Buckingham has tremendous potential to advance this community similar to Edgemere in Dallas in its financial strength and market potential.”

Greystone’s relationship with SQLC dates back more than a decade to when it served as development consultant on the Edgemere project in Dallas, SQLC’s first continuing care retirement community. In the years since, Greystone has served as development consultant on The Buckingham’s original construction and expansion, as well as on SQLC’s four other projects:

  • Querencia at Barton Creek (Austin, Texas)
  • Mirador (Corpus Christi, Texas)
  • The Stayton at Museum Way (Fort Worth, Texas)
  • The Barrington of Carmel (Carmel, Ind.)

Greystone also serves as management consultant at each of SQLC’s six communities — The Buckingham included.

See renderings of The Buckingham’s expansion in the gallery below.

Learn more about The Buckingham.

Buckingham Rendering 1 Buckingham Rendering 2 Buckingham Rendering 3 Buckingham Rendering 4 Buckingham Rendering 5 Buckingham Rendering 6 Buckingham Rendering 7 Buckingham Rendering 8


Greystone Announces Diamond Award Winners at The Event

Greystone presents the Diamond Awards each year to honor the most accomplished Greystone-managed senior living communities from around the country. The Diamond Awards take into account several components:

  • Resident satisfaction
  • First impressions
  • Financial performance
  • Hospitality
  • Professional employee growth
  • Community accomplishments
  • Leadership development

To be considered, each community submits a binder that documents its performance in these areas and more. Holleran conducts resident and employee satisfaction surveys, and Greystone conducts an unannounced first-impressions visit. Finally, Greystone evaluates each community’s submission and scores to determine if it qualifies for a Diamond Award.

The Diamond Awards feature four tiers: one Diamond (score of 82–86), two Diamonds (87–90), three Diamonds (91–94), and four Diamonds (95 and higher). This year’s ceremony also included a special Diamond Award presented to LeadingAge CEO Larry Minnix.

While the Diamond Awards are not an end to themselves, they do help communities deliver on service excellence and provide the very best senior living management services. Here are this year’s honorees:


Two-Diamond Recognition

Sponsor: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation
Location: Dallas, Texas
ED: John Falldine

Santa Marta
Sponsor: Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas
Location: Olathe, Kan.
ED: Chet Surmaczewicz


One-Diamond Recognition

Aberdeen Heights
Sponsor: Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America
Location: Kirkwood, Mo.
ED: Jamie Kneen

The Buckingham
Sponsor: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation
Location: Houston, Texas
ED: Julie Fenske

Edgewood Summit
Sponsor: ABH, Inc.
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
ED: Diane Gouhin

Gulf Coast Village
Sponsor: Volunteers of America
Location: Cape Coral, Fla.
ED: Kevin Ahmadi

Querencia at Barton Creek
Sponsor: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation
Location: Austin, Texas
ED: Nate Weyand

See photos from the Diamond Award presentation in the gallery below.

Diamond 2015 1 Diamond 2015 2 Diamond 2015 3 Diamond 2015 4 Diamond 2015 5 Diamond 2015 6 Diamond 2015 7 Diamond 2015 8 Diamond 2015 9 Diamond 2015 10 Diamond 2015 11