A joint venture between New York-based Rockwood Capital and Chicago-based Doyenne Healthcare Capital will invest $100 million in equity into senior housing communities across the country, the companies announced Tuesday.

Rockwood has invested broadly in real estate ventures of many types since 1995. Newcomer Doyenne was founded in August as a women and minority-owned real estate investment firm that focuses on investments in senior housing and healthcare real estate throughout the United States.

David Becker, co-managing partner of Rockwood, told the McKnight’s Business Daily that the company views senior housing as a complementary strategy for what it calls a “live-space” investment program, which is predominantly multifamily housing. 

“We believe that there are strong drivers behind senior living, and we were looking for best-in-class talent to help us execute within the space,” he said. 

Becker said that Rockwood chose Doyenne mainly because of the track record and reputation of the DHS principals.

“We are only comfortable doing seniors if we’re dealing with people who are not only experienced in the acquisitions and financing aspects of these communities but also have a high degree of integrity and decades of experience and a reputation for being excellent managers of these communities,” he said.

DHS, Becker said, will help Rockwood invest in a way that is not only profitable, but also ethical.

“We want to make profits the right way,” he added. “We spent a lot of time in diligencing possible operators, and we landed on Doyenne.”

A “doyenne” is a woman who is the most respected or prominent person in a particular field. DHC founders Manisha Bathija and Kristen Ahrens have almost 50 years of combined experience in senior housing and healthcare real estate investing. 

Bathija is the company’s chief investment officer. Previously, she was senior investment officer at Ventas. She also has worked in a variety of roles in the healthcare investment banking group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 

Ahrens is DHC’s chief operating officer. She previously was a principal at Capitol Seniors Housing, a Washington, DC-based senior housing private equity firm. Earlier, she was a managing director at CapitalOne Healthcare Finance.

Becker said the joint venture initially will invest in Rockwood’s gateway markets — Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco Bay-area, Seattle and Washington, DC — to have “boots on the ground.”

“We are excited to launch our first strategic partnership with Rockwood, an established real estate investor with a long history of responsible investing and a unique culture of collaboration. Our mutual belief in the growth potential of healthcare and seniors housing real estate will help deliver attractive returns to investors,” Bathija stated.