Kenneth Bacon and Shankh Mitra

Kenneth Bacon and Shankh Mitra

Chairman; CEO at Welltower

Kenneth Bacon and Shankh Mitra
By May 15, 2023 9:00 AM

There’s green in gray.

The baby boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day this decade, according to federal figures, and senior housing owners such as Kenneth Bacon and Shankh Mitra’s Welltower are poised to capitalize on that.

Welltower is not just any owner. The Toledo, Ohio-based real estate investment trust is probably the largest senior housing owner in the United States. As of June 1, 2022, it owned 90,178 units in 903 communities, according to the most recent American Senior Housing Association rankings (the company also owns in the United Kingdom and Canada). And, throughout 2022, Welltower gobbled up additional properties. 

In March, it agreed to buy three communities with nearly 2,800 units in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee for $548 million, according to Senior Housing News. And, in June, it bought 25 properties with nearly 10,000 units in the Northeast and Midwest for $502 million. In a company report about that purchase, Welltower described itself as “the largest owner of moderately priced age-restricted and age-targeted rental housing in the U.S.”

Moderately priced, yes. But Welltower has also become perhaps the biggest player in higher-
end senior housing. The REIT partnered with developer Hines over the last two years on two upscale projects in Manhattan. In May 2022 as well, Welltower invested $344 million in buying seven upscale communities from Oakmont Management in what a release on the deal described as “affluent markets in California.”

Bacon and Mitra both assumed their roles in October 2020, early in a pandemic that seemed to throw the senior housing business model into existential crisis as facilities and complexes emptied or went under painful lockdowns. (Mitra was also chief investment officer until January 2023.) 

It’s different now. The company declined to make either executive available for an interview, citing their prep work for an early May earnings call. That call showed an 11 percent annual increase in net operating income (aka profit) from properties. —T.A.

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