Have you considered Gen X as an audience for your communities? Jane Arthur-Roslovic, CEO & co-founder of multifamily developer and operator Treplus Communities has and is all in on the active adult property type. Noticing few options for younger and healthier older adults who wanted an active, community-based living arrangement, Arthur Roslovic and her siblings teamed up to create Treplus Communities—currently operating five resource-rich active adult communities in Ohio for adults age 55+. Arthur-Roslovic joined NIC Chief Economist Beth Mace to discuss how active adult properties meet the needs and desires of residents, the challenges and opportunities facing the emerging asset class, and the role she expects Gen X and Millennials to play in driving near- and long-term demand.
Beth Mace: (00:04)
Hello, and welcome to the NIC Chat’s podcast. My name is Beth Mace, and I am NIC’s Chief Economist. Thank you for joining us.
Beth Mace: (00:13)
The focus of the NIC Chats podcast is talking to interesting people that have ideas that I think you’d like to hear about. As you listen today, I hope that you’ll find some humor, insights, inspiration, and hopefully what I call an aha moment when something pithy or insightful is said, and a light bulb may go off for you. Let me tell you a bit about the structure of today’s event. First, I will tell you three statements about my guest, two of which will be true. Throughout the podcast, you’ll learn which is true and which is false. Second, there are three standard questions we ask each podcast for each speaker. The first is, what’s the largest challenge facing our industry? Followed by a question about one thing we can do to grow talent in our industry. And third, what is one innovative way or idea to strengthen our industry Now as they say on with the show. So I’m delighted that our NIC Chats podcast discussion today is with Jane Arthur Roslovic. Jane is the CEO and co-founder of Treplus Communities. Jane, thank you for joining us today.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (01:13)
Thank you, Beth. This is wonderful. And also thank you so much for the white paper that NIC put together on Active Adult. I thought that was really wonderful. So I’d like to thank you for that.
Beth Mace: (01:24)
Well, great. Well, it was a team effort. There were a lot of people involved.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (01:27)
Oh, I know. No, but NIC in general, thank you.
Beth Mace: (01:30)
Thank you. So thank you. A lot of volunteers help with that as well as great teammates on staff. Yeah. So, as I mentioned, I have three statements about you, two or true, and one is not. So, three statements include that you once owned a company that manufactured private label jewelry cleaning products, or you still enjoy reading business books or that you love to ride horses. So for the audience, they’ll have to stay tuned for the entire podcast to see which of those is actually a true statement and which is false. So Jane, first of all you are the CEO and founder of Treplus Communities. I’m pronouncing that correct, Treplus Communities.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (02:09)
Beth Mace: (02:09)
Oh, Treplus Communities, sorry. Treplus Communities. It’s a company focused on creating and managing active adult communities for those older than 55. Can you please tell us about Treplus Communities and about your role as CEO?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (02:23)
Yes, absolutely. Our family has been in the real estate business for a long time, and in 2015 my siblings and I decided that we wanted to pursue the active adult asset class. In developing that product, we saw that there was a real need for it, and we’re in Ohio, and of course there’s very little that was available to the active adult 55 plus. You know, you usually typically find those in the sunbelt or coastal regions. So that was something that we decided to pursue. And we not only develop it, but we manage it. And so it’s very important to us to have that ability to create a product or that asset class. Being a new asset class is a challenge at best. And I feel as though `we’ve learned a lot and we, we understand the mentality of that active adult now. So we’re there to create, you know, a really amenity rich, carefree, maintenance free product for our resident.
Beth Mace: (03:48)
Okay. We’re going to get more into that for a moment, but tell us a little bit about the name of Treplus Communities.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (03:53)
You know it came from, it’s the third phase of life. So it’s “tre”, which is third, and then plus, and so along with the 55 plus. So we just felt it was third phase of life, and that’s who we’re catering to.
Beth Mace: (04:12)
Oh, that’s brilliant. Actually, I’m sorry, I didn’t know. Well, tell us about your residents, who they are, What are they seeking? What are some of the key insights you’ve found in providing housing to this cohort?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (04:24)
You know, first of all, our resident is a renter by choice. And what’s really critical during this is such a strange, the last few years have been so strange economically. And so I think that it gives our residents the opportunity to have a different fiscal approach to where they are in their life. And of course, with the home sales that we’ve been seeing over the last couple years, which are unfortunately coming to a halt between interest rates and just the economy in general, I think this had given them the opportunity to get their equity out and really have an opportunity not necessarily to reinvest the equity in a home that they had to care for, which is something that our resident is looking for. Maintenance free is very important. They just, they’re ready to lock and leave.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (05:29)
So I think that that’s very important to our resident who likes to travel. And, oh, also very important to our residents is they become empty nesters and they want to stay. Most of our residents come from close to the property. However, we do have some that their children we call the influencer might have brought them to be closer to them, especially during COVID. We saw that. And the minute that they move into a Treplus community the feeling of isolation is gone. And they’re part of a community. And so one thing that we’ve really worked hard on is creating an amenity rich community. And so our resident is going to be 55 on up.
Beth Mace: (06:24)
What’s the average age?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (06:25)
The average age is 70. Now that the Gen Xer is 55, we see that we have a real ability to skew that down. And I think that that’s going to be really important. I think after the midterm elections, I think that we’re going to see it even becoming more important.
Beth Mace: (06:48)
So let’s talk a little bit about, you were, you were saying that one of the drivers is home equity, and as you pointed out, in Ohio home price, is there minimally flattening out if maybe not declining yet? Right? Are you worried about that in terms of demand drivers into your community?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (07:05)
You know, again, I’ll be really anxious to see after the midterm elections what, what happens and what people’s, I think everybody in the home industry, home building industry is anxious to see what’s going to happen. I wish I had a crystal ball.
Beth Mace: (07:23)
Okay. I don’t want to make this political, so I won’t really get into that, but
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (07:26)
But yeah, No, no, no, no. Yeah. But that’s what we’re seeing. Our resident, you know, from our resident’s perspective, they’re very slow right now in their decision making. And so, and they have been for about I’d say 60 to 90 days. Especially when interest rates started going up.
Beth Mace: (07:48)
Yes. And that’s part of the fed plan to slow things down. So we’re actually feeling that now, and certainly in the commercial real estate and interest rate sensitive sectors like residential real estate.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (07:57)
Beth Mace: (07:58)
So how would you say active adult compares with senior housing and multifamily in terms of length of stay, lease up time, staffing, competitive environment and so forth?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (08:09)
So I would say from the truck list perspective our residents are staying a lot longer. We’ve owned multifamily since the sixties and so our turnover is more around the 20% than the 50%, which you typically see in market rate multifamily. We don’t ever try and go into the senior housing or try and quote what senior housing is, and especially now with, after having what the last few years have looked like for senior housing. So I can’t speak to that at all. But, you know, our resident is really looking more for maintenance free, the community, the sense of community and the fiscal aspect of it. So the length of stay, we think is longer. The lease up time much slower, and I mean much slower. And we, you know, it can be as long as, and I can speak to my peers in the industry, it can be anywhere from 36 months plus to get, to get to stabilize
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (09:29)
But the rents are typically a little bit higher than you’re going to get in multifamily.
Beth Mace: (09:36)
So how much is that typically? Like a 20% premium to multifamily?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (09:39)
Yeah, 20 to 30%.
Beth Mace: (09:43)
So in your marketplace, what would a monthly rent be on average?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (09:47)
So ours is around $2200, and we have one bedrooms that are 1200. There are very few developers that we’re aware of that are scaling their product, like we’re scaling. And so we have a horizontal product with an attached garage, and they’re large, they’re 1200 square feet and 1600 square feet. We have a one bedroom plus and a two bedroom plus. So it’s not a typical 700 square foot or 1100 square foot two bedroom.
Beth Mace: (10:24)
That sounds pretty appealing.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (10:26)
Its verging on a BTR ( built to rent) home. But that’s a major attraction for our resident is that it’s a little easier to downsize into 1600 square feet than, you know.
Beth Mace: (10:45)
So did you see any impact from the pandemic in terms of occupancy?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (10:49)
It was great, actually.
Beth Mace: (10:50)
Oh, it was great. How, how was it great?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (10:53)
It was back to the influencer. We were stunned at how many influencers had their parents, were telling their parents to move into our properties. And that’s… The influencers so concerned about their parents not having a community and not being around people of their age. And so we had people moving from Sun City, Nevada, and three residents moved to Columbus, Ohio from Sun City, and they didn’t know one another. That was what was even more interesting. So yeah, I would say that the pandemic was… The interesting thing is the phrase active adult. And I think you would agree that the whole industry hasn’t fully committed on the words active adult yet, which is I agree. Which is really hard from a marketing perspective. We need, we need our customer to know that that’s an option. So when we say senior housing… I’m 60, I don’t want to say I’m living in senior housing. Okay. I want to hear active adult. Yeah. So I think as an industry, we need to bring that… work harder at bringing that to light.
Beth Mace: (12:18)
Yeah. And I think we’re starting to see efforts in that way.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (12:21)
I totally agree.
Beth Mace: (12:23)
So just for comparison, so that’s interesting that during the pandemic you actually saw occupancy increase. That contrasts a lot with senior housing. Where we saw in general for the, what we call the primary markets, we saw almost a nine percentage point decline in occupancy over that period. And senior housing, by comparison probably has a shorter lease up timing because there’s a lot of people that go there because of need. It’s a new of a need based. So it’s a little bit of a recession resilience property type, actually. So I’m not sure that it will get as affected by whatever we’re seeing in the residence market in terms of prices. But the length of stay, the length of stay wouldn’t compare to, I think you said your length of stay is more than three years.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (13:06)
Beth Mace: (13:06)
And that’s not typically the case. It’s usually shorter for seniors housing. Right.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (13:10)
Right. I mean, we’ve had some residents, we have had a good portion of our residents stay five plus. I mean, they moved in the day that that we opened and they’re still there, but I would say on average it’s three to four years.
Beth Mace: (13:27)
So the elephant in the room for active adult when I talk to folks is, well, what happened? I mean, naturally we’re all getting old and we all age. So what happens when, when someone ages, can they, do they age out of place? Do you ask them to leave? How does that work?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (13:39)
No, we absolutely do not ask ’em to leave. You know, again, we own multi family. People forget that in market rate, multi family, you’re going to have people who are older and need services. And so the interesting thing about these times is that the in-home healthcare business is increasing. With that said, I would say that most of our residents would move out. We will not provide services that’s not our business model or something that we’re striving to do. And so if people need those extra services, they’ll move out.
Beth Mace: (14:29)
So I believe your footprint’s mostly in Ohio and do you think it’s advantageous to be concentrated in a few geographic areas and do you have any plans to move outside of the Ohio area?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (14:39)
So yes, we do. We’re actually in central Ohio and going south, we opened our first project down in the Dayton area and moving into Cincinnati, and then we’re in contract on properties in Indianapolis. Which is easier just because it’s very similar to Columbus. Right but our… When we created Treplus, our whole intent was to scale. We were creating a brand that people would know and identify with active adult housing. So it is fully our intent to be on a national program for sure. We probably will not go to… California is tough to develop in.
Beth Mace: (15:26)
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (15:27)
Yeah. There’s a lot of product there. So but yes, very much so wanting to scale.
Beth Mace: (15:37)
So what there’s a lot of interest in active adult. Part of that is because the demographics, if you look at the 75 plus cohort, that’s the group that’s growing faster than the 85 plus cohort. So developers, operators, financiers are looking at it going, Hmm, that looks pretty good because of the demographics. So that’s certainly one demand driver for active adult right now. So what would be some key insights or takeaways that you might want to share with our listeners who are thinking about going in active adult or lessons learned so they can prevent some kind of you know, disruption in their plans?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (16:14)
Okay. Okay. So the millennials need some place to move and we have a real housing crisis here in America. And it’s something that I think, again, going back to making awareness of this asset class and you’re seeing projects that have high visibility like Margaritaville where it’s hugely successful. They’ve got an enormous marketing budget to be able to be known across the United States. And so I look at projects like that, projects like ours, there is such a need. And again, it goes back to they’ve become empty nesters. They want to have that sense of community. They don’t necessarily want to live in a market rate apartment and they certainly aren’t ready to move into senior housing. Right. And so this is a real opportunity for them to create. And if you look at the demographics coming up behind us, again, Gen Xers are turning 55, Gen Y and keep going. And so there’s… The continuum is just going to continue on to keep it active adult, which is why we don’t need to convert it into independent living. We will have enough people for the next 50 years who are turning 55 who want to be part of that community. And so that’s what makes sense to us.
Beth Mace: (17:42)
Well, it’s so interesting. I have conversations with senior housing folks all the time, and I can tell you we never talk about demand being driven from the Gen Xers. So this is really interesting. You give me a whole new way to think about active adult.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (17:55)
I mean it’s just does keep coming. It’s just going to keep coming. Yeah.
Beth Mace: (17:58)
Yeah. So that’s, that’s really interesting. Yeah. So in your crystal ball, Jane, what are you most bullish about for your communities, for your organization?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (18:05)
What I’m most bullish about is scaling. I am, I am excited about the prospects. It’s, it’s tough right now just because of the economy and people’s concerns about about the economy, right.
Beth Mace: (18:23)
In higher Interest rates.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (18:24)
Yeah. Interest rates, supply chains.
Beth Mace: (18:27)
Cost of debt. Yeah.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (18:29)
I mean labor, you know, getting enough labor to build. I mean, you know, those are the developer concerns right now. But I think it’s something that is not insurmountable, but I think it’s something that if you’re asking me what I get excited about, I get excited that it’ll take time to do. But it’s exciting.
Beth Mace: (18:51)
Well, for your active adult, the labor issues is huge in the senior housing industry, but it’s less so for active adult just because it’s a lot less intensive in terms of FTEs. Right. Or full-time.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (19:04)
Oh, without question. That’s not an issue for active at all, at all. What I’m talking about is actually getting them built.
Beth Mace: (19:12)
Ah, yeah. So you’re looking at the construction. Yeah.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (19:14)
The construction labor is really tough to come by right now. And we’re in Columbus, Ohio, so we’re about ready, we’re under construction with one project and getting ready to start another project. And that’ll be our last project of this product for a while in central Ohio. But we just got the $30 billion intel plant, so that’s our cost for concern here. We won’t have that problem in Indianapolis as much.
Beth Mace: (19:42)
Yeah. So in terms of competition for the labor. Right. Absolutely. So lemme go back to now a little bit of the statements about yourself. And I’m going to say, tell you one, and then you tell me whether that’s true or false. So do you in fact enjoy reading business books?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (19:56)
Love it. Love it, love it, love it, love it. I’ve been reading them for a long time and I go back and it’s just amazing to me how it’s not static business is always evolving, but you can go back historically and see, some of the things that stayed the same. And most of it has to deal with how humans behave. But I do love, love to read, you know, about business growths and people’s approach to entrepreneurial approaches and leadership. And I just, I love reading business books.
Beth Mace: (20:39)
Well, I was just listening over the weekend actually to a whole series of podcasts on the history of economics in the United States in terms of from the beginning of the country and how things changed and Central Banks came and went.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (20:52)
I’d love you to send that to me. Yeah, please send that to me. I really would love to hear that.
Beth Mace: (20:56)
It was really fun. Sure. Yeah, it was really fun. Right. So let’s switch a little bit now and let’s talk about you personally in more of your career path and tell us how you ended up working in providing housing options to older adults.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (21:11)
I started in development in the mid eighties and actually I started in property management, I should say. And which I then got into development and I was in urban infill in development here in Columbus. And and I was raising two children. And it was, it was a lot. And but, but at the same time, very exciting. And I worked on a big master plan project downtown Columbus and then I ended up taking a direction. It was around the late nineties. I took a pause and got back into it with my brother and sister in 2012. We went into acquisition and development and I, I would say that the three of us all understood and had a vision of where we were going to wind up living. And we were all in our fifties. And when this started and it became a discussion because we were going to get back into development and we considered student housing, but that’s fraught with all its issues. And active adult was something that we really felt we understood. We could identify with better and for sure that’s what helped.
Beth Mace: (22:47)
Well, that’s interesting because that’s certainly the case. If you go back to the genesis of a lot of the big senior housing operators too, like Sunrise, it came out of a need a family need. Right. But they wanted, they wanted a product that didn’t exist yet. And that’s a lot of the older established senior housing properties have that same story.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (23:06)
Yeah. A friend of mine started Gantuin Suites out of Columbus, which is for memory care and hers started well really even more specific from Alzheimer’s. And they’re small, but small projects from the amount of beds, but highly, I mean, lots of customer service and so they’re expanding again out of a family need.
Beth Mace: (23:35)
Right, exactly. So what lessons could you share with our audience, younger people that listen to this podcast as well as older, more veterans into the industry, But what are some lessons that you might want to share from your career that might be insightful for people listening.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (23:52)
From my career? You know, I think one of the things that we did early on, and I’ve done this, I did this back in the eighties and we do this a lot with Treplus, and that is our focus groups and really understanding what the consumer wants. Because if you don’t really know what the consumer wants, then, especially when you’re looking at a real high touch customer service need. I think guessing it, guessing at it is just not the appropriate way.
Beth Mace: (24:38)
How do you find that out? How do you find that out? What the customer really wants?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (24:41)
We do focus groups and when we started this whole thing we hired a company that helped us to put together the right focus group and we targeted exactly the customer that we were looking for. And what we learned from that was, was spot on. I mean, I think that that’s why our product is really well regarded and why our residents stay.
Beth Mace: (25:13)
And do you continue to sort of poll your current residents?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (25:18)
Yep. All the time. I mean, I get a resident satisfaction report and then I get a survey on our residents and yes, it’s very important to stay in touch.
Beth Mace: (25:31)
Yeah. So I think that would put that almost in a aha moment kind of thing when we were talking about the podcast earlier, that, you know, you need to stay in touch with your client, your customer base, your resident, and continually fine tune probably to adjust to what their needs are. And probably as you go into other markets, there might be something different in Indiana than in Ohio.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (25:51)
Beth Mace: (25:55)
Okay. So this might be maybe less relevant to you, but it’s one of the standard questions we ask, which is what is, what is one way to grow talent in our industry, in our sector? How do you bring in, you know, new talent into your organization?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (26:10)
Well, I think it’s relevant in any company. I mean, you gotta have talent and Oh, my, our, our, our team is unbelievable and it comes with experience and a true understanding of what their area is. So that goes through for our property management people. And long term experience in… It’s interesting, her experience had a lot to do with being in HOAs, homeowners associations and condominium. And so because our resident has been a homeowner for a long time, so we understand the mentality of that person and great training in our property management area. We also actually use predictive index when we’re looking for people because it is a different selling and leasing active adults different. And so we wanted to make sure that we understood who knew how to do that.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (27:22)
And so you know, running market rate apartments is a whole lot different than running active adult. And then our construction and development and marketing. We just have such a great team of experienced people. And what’s great is they all have the attitude of wanting to train. Everybody has their own SOPs and standard operating procedures and they help train the people who brought in, they bring in who they think can do the job. And so which is great. I’m thrilled with that.
Beth Mace: (28:07)
Yeah. So I wasn’t implying that you guys don’t need talent, but just in terms of the labor shortages… Because of the less FTEs that are required full-time…
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (28:18)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. No, I know. Oh, I understood what you meant.
Beth Mace: (28:22)
So what would be one of the largest challenges facing sort of our industry in general? I think you’ve sort of hit upon it right now, rising interest rates and the economy. Anything else that I think that’s, that’s big enough right now.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (28:36)
Supply chain and labor
Beth Mace: (28:39)
Okay. And if you had one innovative idea on how to strengthen our industry, what would that be?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (28:46)
It’s marketing active adult across the country. I mean, everybody knows what IL AL and CCRCs. Our market has not been educated enough. And we all need to agree what the asset class is. I and our company, Treplus Communities still use the words active adult. We’ve just got to come to an agreement and market it to the right people.
Beth Mace: (29:23)
So I’m hoping that the white paper that you’ve referenced earlier actually helps to do that because that was a lot of people that came together to try and define it.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (29:33)
I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that that is the case.
Beth Mace: (29:36)
Yeah. NIC is focusing on active adult, we featuring it at our conferences and a podcast like today.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (29:44)
I did the session last year and was so beyond grateful that we had at NIC that kind of really passionate response and unbelievable questions from the people who attended. Why you do this podcast, who are really interested in should we invest in active adult? We need more developers of active adult, we just need it
Beth Mace: (30:09)
Yep, I agree. So that’s really good. So let’s go back though again to the truths and less truths about you. So is it true that you once owned a company that manufactured private label jewelry cleaning products?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (30:24)
Yes, I did owned it for about five years. It was a situation… It was great. It was a lot of fun. I got to go to JCK, which is the big show, the big jewelry show in Las Vegas. And that’s where we had… The company went to every jewelry show there was, but it was, it was crazy to go to the trade show. You think IBS and then the show where you can go and buy all you all the home furnishes accessories, et cetera is a lot. That’s a lot of jewelry. And so it was fun.
Beth Mace: (31:04)
So was it a liquid or was it more of a paste?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (31:07)
No, it was a liquid. It was a liquid.
Beth Mace: (31:09)
I bet I have a few of those.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (31:11)
No, I’ll send you some, I still have some. I owned it for only about five years and it was great. We grew it, and then I got out and I sold mine. But it was great. It was a lot of fun
Beth Mace: (31:24)
I’ll have to see your jewelry it’s probably all shiny. Alright, last question then. So do you love to ride horses?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (31:32)
Beth Mace: (31:33)
Oh, you don’t love to ride horses, but you’re round horses?
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (31:36)
I like horses. I like them. Horses… I have been in a few situations where I got, when I was quite young, I got thrown from one horse many times in an hour. And I got up and I walked across the ring and I told my mother I’m done riding horses. And then a little bit later in life I got thrown again. And then in my twenties I got… I think that was the last time I rode a horse was in my late twenties. I said, yeah. The horse could feel my stress, which is, you know what horses are great at doing that equine therapy is an interesting therapy just because they know human stress. And so I just said, you know, I’m going to get off the horse before I get thrown.
Beth Mace: (32:29)
You and I have that in common because I am not a very courageous rider on a horse myself and I myself have been thrown off and that’s what I said.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (32:38)
And it’s not fun.
Beth Mace: (32:39)
It’s the end of it for me. I think I’ll stick to cars.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (32:45)
Yeah, right. Or bikes. I’ll do bikes.
Beth Mace: (32:47)
Yeah, same. Bicycles are good. So Jane, with that, I think that’s going to be a wrap. So thank you so much. I think you gave a lot of information to our listeners in terms of active adult, what you guys are doing in your communities, and we got to know a little bit about you. So it’s been great. So thank you so much for your time.
Jane Arthur Roslovic: (33:05)
Thank you, Beth. This has been great. It’s been very delightful and thanks to all your team.
Beth Mace: (33:10)