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Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) is a company that operates senior's residences, established in 1978, and based in Brentwood, Tennessee. Brookdale is the largest owner and operator of senior living communities throughout the United States, operating over 570 senior living communities and retirement communities in the US. They have 35,000 staff members and 55,000 residents.
The company also offers independent living, personalized assisted living, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing. One whole-owned subsidiary company, Innovative Senior Care (ISC), offers rehabilitation, fitness and educational programming, and health services.
The origins of Brookdale started in the late 1970s with the focus of large upscale urban retirement communities located in large cities such as Chicago, New York, and Miami. These early models replicated five star hotels like the Hyatt, Marriott's, and Hilton of the modern era. As the industry evolved into the late 1990s and early 2000s, Brookdale's major shareholder became Fortress Investments with approximately 51% of the holdings. Throughout the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s, Brookdale developed several more communities that resembled earlier models but also reflected the ever changing climate including Continuous Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), which house all brands of the aging process including skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, and memory care facilities.
By early 2005, the company had grown to approximately 90 stand alone properties. During this time Fortress Investments had acquired the recently bankrupt Alterra Corporation (formerly Alternative Living Services), a Milwaukee, WI based company who had developed and opened more than 500 assisted living and memory care properties throughout the USA between 1993 and 2003. At one point, Alterra was the largest provider of assisted living and memory care services within the United States, catapulting ahead of the industry benchmark for set by Sunrise Senior Living. Rapid growth proved costly and detrimental to the Alterra Corporation and it filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2004. They managed to sell off a third of their assets and bring their facility total down to approximately 300 properties. During the bankruptcy, Fortress purchased Alterra and pondered whether to sell the company to Emeritus Senior Living, which was hired to manage Alterra through the bankruptcy phase.
By the time the management agreement with Emeritus was about to expire, the remaining Alterra portfolio was thriving due to an aggressive push by corporate and divisional leaders to prove the company was not "dead". Fortress put together a merger that would bring their Brookdale portfolio together with the rising Alterra portfolio. This was approved and completed in early 2005, bringing the Brookdale property total to 390 properties. From late 2005 to early 2007, Fortress and Brookdale took advantage of a strong market and an abundance in company cash reserves to acquire several smaller senior living organizations within the United States. These included acquisition of Southern Assisted Living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in April 2006 for $82.6M. Southern Assisted Living was a privately held company that managed approximately 45 properties in the Carolinas. Simultaneously, the acquisitions of several smaller companies including Liberty Senior Services, Wellington Senior Living, and Southland properties brought Brookdale into the second spot on the leading providers list for senior care in the US right behind Sunrise.
In July 2006, Brookdale announced its merger with the Nashville, Tennessee based American Retirement Corporation (ARC). ARC operated approximately 130 properties throughout the United States ranging from large CCRC campuses to assisted living and independent living facilities. They had been operating since the late 1970s. Fortress saw this as an opportunity to put Brookdale at the forefront of senior living, not just by sheer size but with the marrying of two of the longest-running and most successful companies in the industry. When the dust settled on the ARC merger, Brookdale was operating approximately 550 communities in 36 states.
There would be no more acquisitions announced until October 2009 when the Wall Street Journal reported that Brookdale Senior Living had entered into an agreement with Sunrise Senior Living Services to acquire 21 free standing properties throughout the United States. The closing date for this acquisition was announced to be November 25, 2009.
One of the company's facilities, Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield, California, was the focus of national media coverage when a staff member refused to give CPR to Lorainne Bayless, a dying patient. The company cited a policy against giving CPR to independent living facility residents, but did not provide the policy to reporters. The company later revised its position, saying that the staff member had misinterpreted the policy. Police closed its investigation of the facility with no criminal charges, and Bayless's family said it had no intention of suing Brookdale.