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Senior Living Operator Merrill Gardens Buys Out JV Partner for Puget Sound Assets for $344.7MM

Welltower, Merrill Gardens, Seattle, Merrill Gardens Renton Centre
Image Courtesy of Merrill Gardens.

By Meghan Hall

After more than a decade, a privately-owned senior living operator has formally bought out its joint venture partner, acquiring full ownership of multiple assets across the Puget Sound. In four separate transactions that closed on September 17th but only recently recorded, Seattle-based Merrill Gardens spent $344.7 million on assets in Renton, Kirkland, Tacoma and Seattle. The transaction ended a partnership struck by Merrill Gardens and Toledo, Ohio-based HealthCare REIT Welltower.

According to public documents, Seattle-based Merrill Gardens purchased the Merrill Gardens at Renton Centre community on September 17th for $114.111 million. Located at 104 Burnett Ave. S., Merrill Gardens at Renton Centre is located downtown and offers assisted living, independent living and continuing care. The community recently expanded, adding 54 new apartments to the existing community, states the Merrill Gardens’ website. In all, the community totals 184 private apartments and 24 memory care units.

Merrill Gardens gained full ownership of Merrill Gardens University Village at 5101 25th Ave. NE. Merrill Gardens paid $116.1 million for the property, which has 123 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments.

For Merrill Gardens Kirkland, the firm paid $68 million. Located at 14 Main St. S., the complex has 115 apartments. Units are also studios, one-, or two-bedrooms.

The smallest transaction was for Merrill Gardens Tacoma, at 7290 Rosemount Circle. Merrill Gardens paid $45.5 million, and the community has 114 studio, one- and two-bedroom units, as well as 14 cottages and 12 private memory care studios.

Common amenities include rooftop decks, garden terraces, café and bistro, as well as a fitness center and occupational therapy services. A theater for streaming and a community space for crafts, arts and cooking are available to residents, as are a game room with piano, library and salon. Residents are permitted to have pets.

Merrill Gardens’ latest acquisition comes at a time when senior living facilities are under intense scrutiny as potential hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks. According to Merrill Gardens’ websites, 98 percent of its residents across its portfolio have remained coronavirus-free.

In 2010, Merrill Gardens and Welltower announced that the pair of firms had completed a partnership in which the companies agreed to own and operate 38 communities across a number of West Coast markets. In all, the assets accounted for 4,388 units, and at the time, the portfolio was valued at $817 million.