Case Study: LCS Development

Business Opportunity: New Development Campus Project Extends Life Plan Community Experience

Heron's Key

Community at a Glance

Project Scope

New Development, Second Campus


Life Plan Community

Unit Mix

Independent living: 194
Skilled nursing: 45
Assisted living: 36


  • Sales for a new community. 
  • Financing.
  • Zoning.
  • Small original site.

Positive Outcomes

  • Closed $145,055,000 bond financing. 
  • Reached 70% reserved in 20 months. 
  • Negotiated larger site with minimal financial impact.
  • Averaged 6.5 sales per month following a 13-month priority sales period.
  • Created opportunity for future Phase II construction with the completed site, zoning and design.


The community, nestled in Washington’s Puget Sound, offers a concierge for residents, guest suites for visiting family and friends, scheduled transportation to events and social outings, farm-to-table dining, cooking demonstrations, a fitness center, a salon and spa, and walking trails.

Business Profile

When Heron’s Key opened in August 2017, the community welcomed residents with a choice of senior living residences and beautiful views of the wooded area around Gig Harbor, Washington. The not-for-profit Life Plan Community in the Seattle area was developed for Emerald Communities of Redmond, Washington.

Heron’s Key is Gig Harbor’s first Type A Life Plan Community, a designation that allows the community to continually accommodate residents’ changing needs as they age. The community is home to more than 350 residents in 194 independent living residences (including 10 duplex-style cottages), 36 private assisted living suites, and 45 private skilled nursing rooms. A full complement of restaurant-style dining options, fitness and wellness facilities, landscaped and wooded nature trails, and other amenities are offered for residents’ enjoyment. Situated on 18 acres, the campus allowed for the construction of an additional 88 independent living residences, 32 memory care assisted living suites and other amenity spaces (pool, auditorium) expansion.

Business Situation

Heron’s Key represents the second senior living community sponsored by Emerald Communities and the largest development that the City of Gig Harbor has ever approved. This, plus the need to satisfy all the requirements for a Type A Life Plan Community, led the board to select LCS Development as its partner for the project in 2011. With more than 50 years’ experience in developing senior living communities, LCS Development was able to bring comprehensive development and marketing services to the project. The company achieved an exceptional pre-sale reservation rate which allowed the financing to be secured and construction to begin ahead of schedule.

Early in the development process, LCS Development negotiated an option for the purchase of an additional eight acres adjacent to the site. By working with the seller and the municipality to adjust the allowed entitlement from the expansion area to other parcels, Emerald Communities was able to expand the size of Heron’s Key from 10 to 18 acres. This negotiation was essential to the success of Heron’s Key site planning and overall project feasibility. Working with project architect RFM of Bremerton, Washington, LCS Development’s internal team of architects provided oversight during plan development to help manage the predictability and the reliability of the design and budget. LCS Development also served in an oversight role during construction of the project, working with contractor, The Weitz Company of Des Moines, Iowa.

Early community plans allowed for 180 independent living apartments. LCS Development and RFM worked to gain authorization from the city to allow an additional level of wood construction for the independent living building. This yielded an additional 14 apartments, enlarging the community to 194 apartments and enhancing the financial viability of the project.

LCS Development assisted the project team in obtaining all necessary licenses, permits, and approvals required for the project. This included certificates from the Department of Health and approvals from the City and its planning and zoning board, and design review board. A 2013 feasibility report, prior to the start of apartment sales, projected financing to be in place by late spring 2016. Instead, LCS Development was able to assist the financing team led by Ziegler to secure $145,055,000 in bond financing for the community more than eight months ahead of schedule.

Partnering with Leaders who Listen

Emerald Communities chose to partner with LCS Development because of a strong history of partnering with communities for successful development and expansions. For Heron’s Key, this partnership was crucial for the expansion of the community and for filling residences. LCS completed the project ahead of schedule and showcased the community’s dream. “No single owner will have the breadth of experience or resources to handle all of the details,” says Jason Jorgenson, senior vice president/managing director for LCS Development. “This is a process you don’t want to take on alone.”

Emerald Communities board member Bob Crist concurs. “I would describe our relationship with LCS Development as terrific,” he says. “They have helped us through this process. Their folks are bright, capable, dedicated, and a good team to work with. They’re good partners.”

LCS Development knows the importance of active listening within strong partnerships, especially when it comes to developing successful and complex projects. When partnering with LCS Development, partners can only expect to receive exceptional experiences.

To reach out to the LCS Development team or learn more about our projects, visit

  • Heron's Key at Gig Harbor Outdoor Patio Dining
  • Heron's Key at Gig Harbor Lobby
  • Heron's Key at Gig Harbor Dining
  • Heron's Key at Gig Harbor dining with bar

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