We’ve asked David Ammons, one of our principal developers and owner of Retirement Living Associates, the company who will also manage Legacy once we open, some questions related to the current construction industry climate and Legacy’s future.
YOU’RE INVOLVED IN A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES. GENERALLY SPEAKING, WHAT DOES IT
TAKE TO OPERATE A CCRC?
I believe that a Continuing Care Retirement Community should be a place the residents call their home and where every day they are glad that they made the decision to live there, but that also features aspects of the restaurant business, the housekeeping business, the home care business, and the licensed care business. My role as an operator requires meeting the same expectations as the manager of a hospitality outlet, in the sense that the people who live there are independent and active and want to control their own days and their own agendas. But unlike short-term stays at a hotel, our residents want to influence what the community offers and how those services are delivered, now and into the future. It’s the combination of all those features that’s exciting to me.
WHAT IS A COMMON DENOMINATOR ACROSS ALL OF THE COMMUNITIES THAT YOU MANAGE?
What’s common to all of them, I think, is the relationship of appreciation, supportiveness, and mutual respect that evolves between the staff and the residents. When I think about who to hire for the communities I manage, I look for people who are not only qualified to do their jobs but who also have a service mindset. By that, I mean a sincere desire to become involved in the community and to do whatever it takes to make the residents feel comfortable, happy, and secure. Once the residents are convinced of this mindset, their appreciation for the staff grows and becomes the foundation of a genuine community, almost like a family.
HOW DOES THE NC DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE IMPACT YOU AS AN OPERATOR AND MANAGER?
We are tightly regulated by the North Carolina Department of Insurance and it’s important to realize that the Insurance Commissioners and their staff see the protection of the consumer as their primary duty. For Legacy at this point, that means that the risk to the depositor’s money is minimized all along the phases we need to go through to become open and licensed. In stage one, which we’ve completed, and stage two, which we are about to finalize, the depositor’s money cannot be at risk in any way. It only goes partially at risk in stage three, at which point we receive permission to break ground and begin construction. At that point, a depositor’s money is still completely refundable so long as the unit they have reserved can be reserved by another depositor. Once the community is constructed and a particular home receives a Certificate of Occupancy, then the deposit has been earned by Blue Ridge Retirement Partners and a depositor will be scheduled for their closing. Having a continuing care contract is very different from other types of communities that are established to benefit people as they grow older. It means that you come in at the independent living stage and have been promised a continuum of care through an actual contract. The contract is disclosed to the State, which tightly regulates what is being promised as far as the future is concerned. This includes receiving services for independent living, but more importantly assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care.
WHAT EXCITES YOU MOST ABOUT BRINGING LEGACY TO WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA?
If I had to narrow it down to one thing, I think it would be the combination of real estate development and the establishment of a retirement community that will be genuinely appreciated and valued by its residents, right from the time they move in. I am excited to be able to work with Rick Grant because his focus is real estate development, and because he and his brother plan to live at Legacy, so they are building a place where they want to live. It’s been a great chance to combine what I know will be very desirable real estate under girded by the details of a very attractive Continuing Care Retirement Community.