Real estate investor and operator Waterton has acquired a controlling interest in senior living community owner and operator Pathway to Living, Waterton announced Thursday. Both companies are based in Chicago.

“The relationship began in 2015 with Waterton holding a 50 percent interest and three out of six board seats on the Pathway to Living board and was increased to a controlling interest of 80 percent in 2019,” Waterton co-founder, CEO and Chairman David Schwartz said in a statement. “We have been making investment decisions alongside Pathway to Living for five years.”

The companies will continue to focus on addressing middle-income demand in the sector through value-add acquisition and development to offer a continuum of care ranging from age-restricted communities to independent living through assisted living and memory care, according to Waterton.

“The need for contemporary senior housing options that address the needs of today’s seniors and their families is reaching unprecedented levels,” Schwartz said. “Through our work with Pathway to Living, we intend to continue providing seniors and their families with attainable housing options that offer a robust social experience combined with physical spaces that help create an overall sense of well-being.  The size and above-average growth of the population over age 65 is a clear indicator of the need for modern housing options for older adults.”

Pathway to Living owns or manages 29 communities with a total of more than 2,600 units. Additionally, three communities under development with a total of more than 300 units are planned to open this year and next year.

“I see tremendous opportunity on the horizon in the senior sector,” Schwartz said. “This asset class continues to see steadily attractive investment spreads, and this marriage of investment experience and development and operational know-how between Waterton and Pathway to Living will be attractive to capital partners while addressing an important societal need.”