DALLAS, Texas, Feb. 19, 2020 — Journey Capital Managing Principals and Founders Narayan Patel and Anand Patel saw an opportunity in North Texas and its growing senior population.
In 2016, the business partners, who both have backgrounds in the hospitality industry, decided to explore the senior living sector and saw there was and would continue to be an escalating need for senior living that spanned the entire country. A year later, they began to meet with developers, operators, lenders and others in the industry to better understand the space before launching into the industry.
The company's portfolio now includes two senior living facilities that are in operation, two that are under construction and two ground-up projects slated for Aledo and Saginaw to break ground in June. The company is also planning to acquire another facility in March, according to Narayan. Funding for the ground-up projects has come from the two's network of high net worth individuals, friends and family. However, some of the acquisitions have been funded internally.
The senior living-focused real estate development and acquisitions company broke ground on its first senior living property, The Grandview of Chisholm Trail, in Fort Worth in 2018. Then in 2019, the firm broke ground on its second property, Harvest of Roanoke. Narayan said they were shocked by how similar senior living was to the hospitality industry – all that was added was a huge care component.
"Hospitality is in our DNA," says Anand in a prepared statement. "We take great pride in guest service, and we wanted to bring that passion into a new space. Senior housing is a natural fit, but we think the industry needs to evolve to meet its potential. Our goal is to build senior living brands that are as sought after as the most trusted names in hospitality."
As the two look to future expansion, Narayan said they are taking a deep dive approach to the demographics throughout the Metroplex and other markets to find future opportunities. “In our Indian community, we have a saying where if our parents help us in our first footsteps of life, it's our duty to help them in their last footsteps of life,” said Narayan.
While there has been a lot of senior living built, Anand said with 10,000 people a day turning 60, he doesn't think there is enough. "We're approaching what the U.S. Census Bureau calls a 'transformative decade' as the last of the Baby Boomers reach retirement," Narayan said in a prepared statement. "The demand for senior housing is growing, and the investments will follow. The question is what shape it's going to take. According to our research, our clientele wants a guest-centered model akin to what they might experience in a great hotel. That's exactly what we're going to offer, and more."
While the need for senior living is national, the two Dallas natives decided to stay in the region for their new venture. "Dallas is our home, it's our backyard. We know the markets ... (and) we know the demographics," said Anand. As the two have grown Journey Capital in North Texas, they have begun to understand the ins and outs of the industry better. "It's a very disciplined industry where it's not going to be overly saturated everywhere you go," said Anand. "It's a very disciplined investor pool of companies. They're very conscious of where they build based on their focus and based on the demand. They're not just going to build a new community everywhere."
As the company works to find the most optimal space, it is also trying to reimagine what the sector could look like. As space is designed and developed, a creative focus with design has been implemented. Beyond providing greater amenities, it also works to keep the residents engaged with the community.
Unlike the hospitality industry though, Narayan said the residents are there for life, not just a couple days. In this type of care, the residents and staff form closer bonds. "You can't afford any kind of bad experiences because this is essentially, first and foremost, the senior's home," said Narayan. "This is where they live, and you have to really create a great journey for them in their life - for the remainder of their days."
With plans to build one or two communities a year while acquiring one community yearly, both Narayan and Anand are ready to impact more and more seniors in the region. In five years, the two want to have 15 plus communities across Texas and maybe even beyond. With this growth, the two are also looking at adding to the company's team, which currently only includes the two of them. "While those are our goals, we're not ever held – kind of like a REIT or private institution – to where we have to deploy capital," said Narayan. "We want to do the right thing for the right market and build at the right time."