Old money: Assisted living on Billionaires’ Row

Welltower and Hines plan to charge $20K-plus rent at Midtown center
May 10, 2016 09:54AM

Money can’t buy you eternal youth and health, sadly, but enough of it can keep you in the heart of the city even as those things fade.

Toledo, Ohio-based Welltower, the largest assisted living center operator in the country by value, is planning to charge a stratospheric $20,000 per month or more for rooms at its planned 15-story center at 56th Street and Lexington Avenue in Midtown, the company’s CEO Thomas DeRosa told Bloomberg.

The company – along with its partner, Houston-based developer Hines – is planning to target New York’s wealthiest aged and infirmed residents.

“You take someone who’s lived at 88th and Park their entire life and you, all of a sudden, say I’m moving you to New Canaan, Connecticut,” DeRosa told the news service. “Because that’s the closest assisted-living facility I can get you into — that is unacceptable. You will kill that person.”

The partners purchased the two-parcel property at 139 East 56th Street for $115 million last month. The sellers were Stephen Meringoff and Dennis Riese. The site is currently home to a T.G.I Friday’s restaurant, which is scheduled to be demolished next year.

The high-end assisted living concept is “a little bit unproven,” analyst John Kim of BMO Capital Markets told Bloomberg. “There’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve on the demand side to see if residents are willing to pay those kinds of prices.”

The high monthly rate largely reflects the neighborhood’s extremely high land prices, and, at least according to DeRosa, compares favorably to the price of living in Manhattan with full-time caregivers.

Hines, meanwhile, is the developer behind the MoMA tower, which has a penthouse that will reportedly ask $70 million. [Bloomberg] – Ariel Stulberg