Interview conducted and condensed by Vivian Marino  |  Jan 5, 2016  |  This article originally appeared in The New York Times

Mr. DeRosa, 58, is chief executive of Welltower, a real estate investment trust based in Toledo, Ohio, that specializes in the health care sector, which includes senior living facilities. A longtime company director, he became C.E.O. in April 2014. Previously Mr. DeRosa served as a vice chairman and chief financial officer of the Rouse Company before its merger with General Growth Properties.

Welltower is currently developing a 140,000-square-foot outpatient center with Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn; it recently completed an 86,000-square-foot senior living community in Mahwah, N.J.

Photo Credit: Earl Wilson/The New York Times

Q. The company used to be known as Health Care REIT. Why the name change?

A. The name change speaks to who the company is today and where the company is going forward, whereas Health Care REIT was very much who we were in the past. We were the first company to invest in health care real estate and structure as a REIT, back in 1970.

Today I first would describe our company as a health care company that is real estate heavy. The piece of health care that we’re focused in is wellness — to managing health care delivery in the future.

Q. You’re not involved in the actual health care — you provide the facilities.

A. Right. But it’s very difficult to separate facility from the provision of care. The elderly need to redefine what their home is.

Q. How much of your portfolio is assisted-living housing?

A. I would say assisted living is about two-thirds of the company. We have over 1,400 facilities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Q. How many of them are in the New York area?

A. About 130 facilities.

Q. Any in Manhattan?

A. Interesting, we have none.

We’re developing a state-of-the-art outpatient medical center next to Maimonides Hospital in Borough Park, Brooklyn. I was born in Brooklyn.

Q. Are you looking for something in Manhattan?

A. We’re looking very closely right now at the island of Manhattan, because we think that what we deliver as a company needs to be here. We’re circling a number of opportunities that may come our way.

Q. So you’ve been C.E.O. for little over a year.

A. Yes, but I’ve been associated with the company since 1992.

Q. What changes have you made so far?

A. We’ve opened two offices. We have a large portfolio of assets in Canada and a large portfolio in the U.K., mostly centered around London. We have five people in Toronto now, and we have 10 people in London.

Our portfolio is concentrated in the major metropolitan markets as close to the major cities that have positive demographics.

I’ve also added a lot of new people with different skill sets. We have an extraordinary 160-acre campus in Toledo, Ohio.

Q. How would you describe your main responsibilities at Welltower?

A. Well, my main duty is maximizing shareholder value. That’s Job 1. And part of that is maintaining our relationships with our most important operators, maintaining our relationships with our most important investors and sources of capital, and identifying new sources of capital, which we very successfully have done.

Q. Such as?

A. Large institutional pension funds.

Q. Has the Affordable Care Act affected your business?

A. Because we are a private pay business largely, only a small percentage of our business is exposed to government risk. But we need to drive people out of acute care hospital beds into lower-cost, higher-impact settings, and that’s what we deliver.

Q. How is business?

A. Well, we were coming off 2014, which was an extraordinary historic year for our company.

Q. What is your occupancy rate portfoliowide?

A. It’s in the low 90 percent.

Q. What are your rental rates like?

A. It all depends. Rental rates in our company start in the low-$2,000-a-month range, and that would be for independent living. They go up for someone who requires direct memory care supervision, who is in late-stage Alzheimer’s — that can be $15,000 a month.

Q. Do you have any family members in your health care facilities?

A. Yes, we have had family members, although I’m embarrassed when I tell you this: My 93-year-old mother still lives in the house that she bought with my dad in 1962. She’s not moving. She’s a tough lady and she’s very cognitive.

Stay Connected


recent posts


d.health Digest

About admin