BROOKLYN, N.Y.—The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, New York City’s first new luxury retirement community to open in 20 years and Brooklyn’s first ever, has welcomed its first independent living lifestyle members today. This extraordinary new senior community is a stunning, $330 million redevelopment and renovation of the beloved, iconic Leverich Towers Hotel located at 21 Clark Street in Brooklyn. The property was famous as the pre-game home of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ top players and their families in the 1930s and 1940s. Among regular guests at that time were the Dodgers’ star pitcher Whitlow Wyatt and left fielder Joe “Ducky” Medwick.
The landmark property offers an incredible 50,000 square feet of amenities. Residents will experience a curated art gallery, three world-class gourmet restaurants, a professional-level performing arts stage, multiple wellness venues, a heated indoor pool, a salon and spa, and a rooftop terrace with unmatched views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and New York City waterways.
“We are passionate about building extraordinary, innovative communities, where residents thrive with an abundance of engaging choices. The Watermark features countless opportunities to dine, learn, and enjoy an enriched, fulfilling life. With the opening of The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights as New York City’s first new luxury senior residence in 20 years, we are continuing to reimagine the concept of retirement for discerning, active retirees at the historic 21 Clark Street location,” said David Freshwater, chairman of Watermark Retirement Communities (WRC).
According to Sarah Shriver, who recently assisted her mom, Phyllis Beck, in the search for a quality senior community in New York City and recommended the Brooklyn property at 21 Clark Street, “The Watermark feels like a luxury home that my mom would be proud to invite her friends to. The residences are much larger than at any other upscale senior property we have reviewed in New York City. The amenities are just stunning, with beautiful architectural design, a very spacious feel, and incredible views. The financial aspect was definitely a factor as well, as the much larger and luxurious Watermark apartments cost half of what the high-end, but significantly smaller senior residences in Manhattan cost, and none have the interior or exterior architectural detail of the beautiful 21 Clark Street building.”
“I was originally drawn to The Watermark because of its location in beautiful Brooklyn Heights and the proximity to my daughter’s home in Carroll Gardens,” shared Beck, one of the pioneering members at The Watermark. “As construction progressed and I was able to see the apartments, it was clear that very few, if any, buildings in New York City could offer the same architectural esthetic, luxurious features, and amenities. We visited senior residences in New Jersey and New York and most had an institutional and tired feel to them. None of the buildings had the meticulous attention to detail that the Watermark provides and there is not a single element that would make a resident or visitor feel like it is an institutional or communal residence. The Watermark has the feel of a luxury hotel,” she added.
“We are enthusiastic to be involved in fulfilling a growing demand for high-quality senior housing in the heart of Brooklyn. Urban senior living properties are an attractive alternative real estate investment segment within a rapidly growing market. We are proud to lead this market sector nationally with our partner, Watermark Retirement Communities,” stated Al Rabil, CEO, Kayne Anderson Real Estate.
The ownership team for the Brooklyn property consists of a partnership of the majority owner Kayne Anderson Real Estate; the operator, co-developer, and minority owner Watermark Retirement Communities/The Freshwater Group; and the development partner, minority owner, and construction owner’s representative Tishman Speyer. The lending consortium, which consisted of the lead lender BMO Harris, as well as Wells Fargo and Capital One, provided a $200 million acquisition and redevelopment loan.
“While touring the property prior to its acquisition in 2017, we realized we had a rare opportunity to redevelop 21 Clark Street, a part of the former Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters complex, into a one-of-a-kind community with a national and even international appeal. While the property’s immense size, including the sprawling lower-level spaces, had discouraged other developers, we immediately recognized it as an incredible chance to create over 50,000 square feet of amenities for our members. This is something unheard of in any other urban retirement community. We are finding it is making the property an attractive option not only for New York City and Brooklyn area residents, but it is also drawing interest from seniors nationwide,” explained David Barnes, Watermark Retirement Communities’ President.
Watermark and Kayne Anderson’s partnership owns and operates a portfolio of 17 retirement communities totaling more than 2,300 residences of independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing, valued at approximately $1.2 billion in deal capitalization. The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights is one of five properties managed by Watermark Retirement Communities in their Élan Collection.
About Watermark Retirement Communities
A privately held company with a reputation for service, innovation, integrity and financial stability, Watermark Retirement Communities is based in Tucson, Arizona. The Watermark team has more than 30 years of experience creating retirement communities that offer extraordinary independent living, assisted living, and memory care, as well as skilled nursing. It is the 11th-largest senior living operator in the U.S. in 2020, according the American Seniors Housing Association. The company currently operates 65 communities across 21 states, including three opening in late 2020, with nearly 11,500 beds under management. Seven more properties are currently under development. Watermark has been named among the top 25 Best Workplaces for Aging Services in a national program conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute and published on Fortune.com.
Two regional communities are already in operation in Millbrook and Tuckahoe, N.Y., with 12 others in upstate New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Watermark Retirement Communities places great emphasis on curating programs that are unique to each location, facilitating experiences that are far removed from the traditional concept of senior living. Through an extensive list of engagement and wellness opportunities, members remain consistently inspired, active and catered to in every possible manner. To learn more, please visit watermarkcommunities.com .
About Watermark’s Élan Collection
The newly launched Élan Collection creates an elevated standard in senior living and care, blending ageless style with leading edge innovation, personal service with grand-scale amenities, intimate tranquility with engaging opportunities and a spirited lifestyle with customized care. Along with The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, the Élan Collection features four other premium locations: The Watermark at Westwood Village in Los Angeles, The Watermark at Napa Valley, Calif., and The Hacienda at the River and The Hacienda at the Canyon in Tucson, Ariz.
About Kayne Anderson Real Estate
Kayne Anderson Real Estate (KA Real Estate) is a leading real estate private equity investor in senior housing, medical office, off-campus student housing, and self storage. As of May 31, 2020, KA Real Estate had $10.5 billion in assets under management across its opportunistic equity, core returns and real estate debt investments. KA Real Estate is part of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, an investment firm that manages $30.5 billion in assets under management, and has more than 30 years of successful experience in the real estate, infrastructure, credit, and private equity sectors.
About Tishman Speyer
Tishman Speyer is a leading owner, developer, operator and fund manager of first-class real estate around the world. Founded in 1978, Tishman Speyer is active across the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia, building and managing premier office, residential and retail space in 29 key global markets for industry-leading tenants. The firm has acquired, developed and operated a portfolio of over 175 million square feet with a total value of approximately US $94 billion spread over 411 assets. Signature assets include New York City’s Rockefeller Center, São Paulo’s Torre Norte, The Springs in Shanghai, Lumière in Paris, and OpernTurm in Frankfurt. Tishman Speyer currently has projects at different stages of development in Boston, Beijing, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Washington, DC. The firm also operates portfolios of prominent office properties in Berlin, Paris, Chicago and London. For more information, visit tishmanspeyer.com and on social media @tishmanspeyer.
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