New focus for Pacific Retirement Services

PRS picks up three consulting contracts with Calif. nonprofits
The Rogue Valley Manor buildings are seen from Highway 99 near Phoenix. Pacific Retirement Services, the parent company of the Manor, recently has picked up three consulting contracts with nonprofit continuing care retirement communities in California.

Once an ambitious builder and buyer of senior continuing care facilities, Pacific Retirement Services has changed its focus to management, consulting and marketing.

Pacific Retirement Services, the parent company of Rogue Valley Manor, has picked up three consulting contracts with nonprofit continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, in California during the past year, strengthening its niche.

PRS said Monday one of its California units now manages Friends House in Santa Rosa, Calif., a nonprofit community. Previously it signed a deal with the Jewish Home of San Francisco and Quaker Gardens Senior Living in Stanton, Calif.

"There are a lot of different things going on in senior living right now," said PRS Chief Executive Officer Brian McLemore. "Single stand-alone nonprofits are going through difficult times because the industry is so complex and changing — especially when it comes to accessing capital and getting projects financed."

The Friends Association of Services for the Elderly, part of the Quaker church tradition of equality and simplicity, opened the 7-acre center in Santa Rosa, during 1976. PRS affiliate, Retirement Services LLC, will provide guidance and oversight to all departments at Friends House, including operations, accounting, human resources, and marketing.

"Friends House has gone through a lot of executive changes over the last five or seven years," McLemore said. "That caused a lot of inconsistencies in the programs. They decided they can't replace the staff every couple of years and maintain consistency. We can provide some stability, which they desperately need. We took (community representatives) to Davis, where we have just finished a remodel and to Napa and they saw we had the expertise to grow their campus."

The Jewish Home, at the corner of Mission and Silver Avenue, is a 450-bed nursing home. But the needs are different today than when the organization first acquired its 9 acres 140 years ago.

McLemore said half of the campus will be torn down, and underground parking will be added with new construction above it. The number of skilled nursing beds will be reduced by more than half.

"A startup CCRC is very hard to do in this financing environment," McLemore said. "But we are starting to see people say, 'I can add on again; we can get capital for those projects.' "

In the past decade, PRS has built high-rise senior communities in Portland and Seattle. A prodigious undertaking in Foster City, Calif., not far from San Francisco International Airport, was scrapped during the depths of the recession.

Access to new construction capital might be hard to come by for nonprofit organizations, but for-profit companies have stepped up their activity.

"The competition is getting stiff with for-profit groups," McLemore said. "They're getting more aggressive because they have stronger access to capital. They have equity to do the projects they are trying to develop."

Some nonprofits, said McLemore, such as the Jewish Home of San Francisco, are backed by foundations that can help gain financing for projects.

"But most small nonprofit communities have difficulty getting capital," he said.

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