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Case Study: LCS Development

Business Opportunity: Executing a Master Plan for Long-Term Success

Friendship Village Sunset Hills

Business Profile

Since 1978, Friendship Village Sunset Hills has promoted a vibrant, carefree lifestyle to seniors in the St. Louis area. Situated on over 50 acres, Friendship Village Sunset Hills consists of 293 independent living apartments, 40 independent living cottages, 61 assisted living apartments, and an on-site 118-bed skilled nursing facility.

Friendship Village Sunset Hills is a mission-driven, not- for-profit organization under the direction of a board of directors comprised of local community leaders. Friendship Village Sunset Hills has long been recognized for its tradition of serving the needs of seniors.

Business Situation

In 2006, Friendship Village Sunset Hills realized that the aging physical plant of the community needed to be repositioned. The leadership of the community convened a strategic planning retreat focused on long term planning toward 2025 and beyond. The leadership realized that the competitive environment was growing and they were falling behind the competition. These new competitors were offering new facilities, larger living units and finish upgrades.

In addition, many were offering swimming pools, theaters, alternative dining options, art studios and galleries and other unique features. At the strategic planning meeting, it was identified that the organization needed to better understand the changing marketplace and then determine what changes needed to be made at Friendship Village Sunset Hills. The need for a master plan for the community became one of the six strategic growth goals for community redevelopment.

In 2008 Friendship Village Sunset Hills began to address the strategic goal of creating a master plan by hiring an architect to lead the master planning process. It became quite evident, once the plan was delivered, that it was greatly lacking project economics planning. The community had spent $75,000 and still did not have a comprehensive master plan for the community.

Following the review of the initial master plan, Friendship Village Sunset Hills leadership contacted LCS Development, An LCS Company, to explore alternative possibilities.

Master Planning & Executing Phase I


  • Market
  • Physical Plant
  • Operational
  • Programming
  • Regulatory
  • Trends in Design
  • Strategic Plan Review


  • Information
  • Interpretation
  • Validation


  • Strategic Plan Revision
  • Development Plan
  • Master Plan
  • Site Plan
  • Phasing Plan
  • Financing Plan
  • Operational Plan

Business Solution

LCS Development collaborated with the leadership of Friendship Village Sunset Hills to develop the master plan. Following the initial consultation, a site visit was made in the fall of 2010. A proposed master plan was submitted to the board in April of 2011. The development agreement was approved June 2011. The master plan met expected industry design trends for campus amenities for new apartments and common amenities, was financially sound and executable. It addressed the current weakness of the community and offered solutions to keep the community market competitive.

Positive Outcomes

The community realized that having a developer driven master planning process resulted in a more integrated process, more collaboration among critical parties, improved project economics and an enhanced senior living experience for the residents.

LCS Development also has a team of in-house licensed architects. This team of architects is fully integrated into the group’s financial, marketing and sales, operations, and methodology allowing for seamless integration and interpretation of design to support the needs of the community.

Specific outcomes where:

  • A comprehensive master plan for 2025 is now in place for Friendship Village Sunset Hills.
  • A collaborative process was used, ensuring that all needs and insights were included in the master plan.
  • The senior living redevelopment plan provides an efficient use and layout of the physical site of the community.
  • Common amenities are centralized for the residents and staff.
  • The plan included a modified campus mix of apartments and amenities to be market-competitive.
  • The plan included a mix of product types for apartments and cottages.
  • The plan included a resident-centered health care design.
  • The plan identified an optimal phasing plan.
  • This process resulted in maximized financial performance of the community.

Phase I Outcomes

The first phase of construction is complete. Friendship Village Sunset Hills Board President, Lydia Seibert, explained her excitement about the first phase of construction, “LCS Development, working with our project manager and local partners, delivered on time and under budget, allowing us to add amenities from our wish-list that greatly enhanced our residents’ experience.”

Twenty villas, 78 apartments with underbuilding parking, and a clubhouse featuring new dining venues, a fitness center, library, and extensive outdoor activity space have been well-received by residents. Other community redevelopment outcomes included:

  • Wellness classroom and wellness gym are two of the residents’ favorite additions to the fitness center
  • Underground parking is among the residents’ top newly added amenities to the community
  • Clubhouse Café has been so well-received by residents that additional dining venues are planned for Phase II construction
  • Filling the new buildings has been so successful, plans are ahead of schedule and future development of the master plan will begin much earlier than expected or based on the projected timelines
  • The cash generated from entry fees has been a tremendous boost to the investments of FVSH

Phase II Outcomes

Because of the first phase’s success, discussions are now underway for the second phase. The next phase of work will include:

  • Redesign of the current care center
  • Clubhouse expansion with additional dining venues
  • Wellness center

Contact us to see how LCS Development can help you with your senior living redevelopment, strategic planning or expansion project.


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