Benton House

Hunt Midwest and Principal Senior Living Group open ninth Benton House

Hunt Midwest, in partnership with Principal Senior Living Group, recently welcomed the first residents to Benton House of Olathe, its newest assisted living and memory care community located at 15700 W. 151st St. in Olathe, KS.

“Benton House of Olathe is situated amongst several established neighborhoods, providing area seniors needing assistance with daily activities the option to remain in the same community, close to friends and family,” said Ora Reynolds, president and CEO of Hunt Midwest.

“Excellent schools, city services and a full range of housing options have made Olathe a popular choice for families to call home, but market research indicated a gap between demand and the availability of high-quality senior housing. Our team is thrilled to offer Benton House of Olathe to meet the current and ongoing needs of seniors and their families for first-class assisted living and memory care.”

This is Hunt Midwest and Principal Senior Living Group’s ninth metro area Benton House community; more than double the number locations initially planned by the partnership when it entered the Kansas City senior housing market in 2011.

“The success of Benton House senior living communities has significantly outpaced our initial projections in terms of capital investment and number of locations," Reynolds said. "Our investment of $85M in senior housing development has subsequently resulted in the creation of more than 700 jobs to support the construction, management and operation of our Benton House locations.

Benton House of Olathe incorporates a variety of indoor and outdoor amenity spaces and 55 studio and one-bedroom apartment suites arranged in a figure eight around two landscaped courtyards. Also offered is the Beacon Neighborhood, an exclusive, secured area dedicated to residents in need of additional memory care services and support.

“Our award-winning team takes great pride in providing compassionate, individualized care to residents and their families,” said Kyle Diekmann, chairman of Principal Senior Living Group. “Benton House offers a variety of programs and events designed to promote an engaging, active lifestyle for our residents. We’re proud to have earned the reputation of being a wonderful place for area seniors to call home.”

Traditional architecture and interior design give Benton House of Olathe a classic, timeless look that complements the surrounding neighborhood. Elements include a neutral color palette and mix of stone, brick and stucco on the façade, lush landscaping, and signature white cupola atop a sweeping, covered front entry.

The single-story, 52,000-square-foot building is situated on 4.4-acres, allowing ample room on the site for future expansion of the Beacon Neighborhood with minimal impact to residents living at Benton House or nearby.

Hunt Midwest and Principal Senior Living Group currently own and operate a portfolio of six Benton House locations that include Benton House of Olathe, Benton House of Staley Hills, Benton House of Lenexa, Benton of Tiffany Springs, Benton House of Raymore and Benton House of Blue Springs. Previously owned locations include Benton House of Shoal Creek, Benton House of Lee’s Summit and Benton House of Prairie Village.

The company’s Benton House assisted living facilities serve seniors who don’t want or need a nursing home, but who are weary of home upkeep, in need of a little personal assistance or simply desire to have more interaction with others. The company currently owns/operates 25 Benton House assisted living and Alzheimer’s/memory care service centers.

Ora Reynolds on Hunt Midwest’s aggressive growth

Ora Reynolds is president at Hunt Midwest.

Ora Reynolds is president at Hunt Midwest.

Today, when you look at the professional day-to-day of Ora Reynolds, you’d never guess she stepped into her job by answering a newspaper ad – but that’s exactly what she did. As president of Hunt Midwest, a sister company to the Kansas City Chiefs owned by the Hunt family, Reynolds spends her days expanding the residential development side of the business and spreading the word about Hunt Midwest’s evolving identity as one of the region’s top real estate companies.

“We understand that our brand means a lot, so we’re trying to take some things we used to do and make them more visible,” Reynolds said.

 

Reynolds has been with Hunt Midwest since its early days as essentially three companies: a mining company, an entertainment company, and a real estate company. Since then, Hunt Midwest has sold off its mining and entertainment counterparts and has focused on its industrial/commercial and residential development.

In recent years, that’s meant expanding the residential component to encompass a person’s entire life cycle. Hunt Midwest in recent years began developing multifamily projects as well as larger, single-family home communities with heavy amenities for multiple lifestyles.

Hunt Midwest is providing capital and construction management for its boutique luxury apartment project, Mission 106 at Mission Farms. The 139-unit includes 7 townhomes and is a joint venture between ePartment Communities LLC and master developer Doug Weltner.

“We like to do larger [projects] because there are more barriers to entry,” Reynolds said. “Not everyone has the people and financial resources to build a 1,500-home community with neighborhood services, so that gives us a competitive advantage.”

Reynolds says she sees a big opportunity in a new, widening market created by millennials’ shifting lifestyle patterns. She says statistics show that more than 50 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds and 41 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds are still living with their parents. They’re also delaying obtaining full-time jobs, and need the geographic flexibility an apartment offers, and are waiting longer to get married.

In 2010, Hunt Midwest launched a joint venture with Principal Senior Housing to invest $32 million into starting a senior living platform in Kansas City. Since then, that investment has doubled to $65 million.

“Those patterns have moved the cycle for a homebuyer out, and it’s created a wider swath of apartment people,” Reynolds said. “It’s all about household formation and job creation, and that’s what we think is really feeding the apartment market right now.”

With a proven multifamily concept, Hunt Midwest ownership in recent years began to wonder: “What’s next?” With many of its communities master-planned for additional uses like senior living, the company decided to form a joint venture with Principal Senior Living in 2010. From the first initial project came the decision to build a $32 million, four-project platform in Kansas City. Today, Hunt Midwest now has four senior living communities up and running and four more under construction or design – a $65 million investment.

“That’s been really exciting because it takes our single-family buyer at all their life cycles, then moves us into when someone needs assisted living or memory care,” Reynolds said.

And that’s only the residential piece of the puzzle for Hunt Midwest. In its industrial/commercial division, the firm is having its best year ever. Its sprawling 1,100-acre Subtropolis, the world’s largest underground business park, now leases 6 million worth of space to a plethora of companies. In 2014 alone, Hunt Midwest added 1 million square feet – the most ever added in a year – including a 475,000-square-foot build-to-suit central distribution facility for a Denver-based e-commerce company, Food Service Warehouse.

SubTropolis became home to Food Service Warehouse in 2014, Hunt Midwest’s largest build-to-suit in the market. The 475,000-square-foot facility has made the underground business park its central distribution facility for all of its e-fulfillment needs.

On its surface, Hunt Midwest is also benefitting from its proximity to the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo., and has become home to Automotive Alley, where Ford Transit vans are kept before they’re outfitted.

SubTropolis Technology Center also opened in 2014 as the first data center in the underground park. It’s anchored by LightEdge Solutions and currently houses four fiber carriers.

Subtropolis Tech Center opened in 2014 and houses four fiber carriers.

As if that wasn’t enough, Hunt Midwest is also looking at opportunities in the 15,000-acre Twin Creeks area, where it’s contributed $16 million to a $34 million effort to get the area sewered. With 5 people per acre, the area could potentially house 75,000 new residents over time.

Hunt Midwest owns 300 acres in that area, where it’s currently planning Park Place North, a development that will consist of a full range of housing from single-family homes through senior living facilities.

“In 1993, we opened our fist community in the Shoal Creek area, where we put in about 2,000 homes. There, we went in with homes and the retail followed those rooftops,” Reynolds said. “Here, it’s going to be the reverse, but we hope we can do what was done in the Liberty/Shoal Creek area on the Platte County side.”

As much as the company has expanded in recent years, Reynolds says Hunt Midwest must be cautious in its investments.

“We get to be entrepreneurial, but there’s a safety net,” she said. “We are stewards of the Hunt name, and we never can do anything that would risk that, so we tend to be more conservative when we’re looking at projects we can’t control what we think are the important pieces. We won’t get involved unless we think we can control that reputation we have.”

So what does Reynolds consider the biggest reason for Hunt Midwest’s success?

“I prefer to use what I call a ‘rifle approach’ to closing deals as opposed to a ‘shotgun approach.’ You can run around and look at a variety of deals where you don’t have the expertise, or you don’t know how you’re going to get to the end, so I like to go after projects that fit our expertise and where we want to go,” she said. “I learned a long time ago that you have this business plan, and you’re trying to get there, and you may not get there exactly the way you thought you’d thought you would – but as long as you get there, it’s okay.”

Hunt Midwest debuts sixth senior living community in Raymore

Hunt Midwest debuts sixth senior living community in Raymore

Hunt Midwest is celebrating the completion of its sixth assisted living and memory care community since 2011 with the opening of Benton House of Raymore. In the last five years, Hunt Midwest has partnered with Principal Senior Living Group to invest more than $55 million in Benton House communities throughout the Kansas City metro.