Watermark Retirement Communities Acquires Merrill Gardens at ChampionsGate

Watermark Retirement Communities – the nation’s 9th-leading senior housing operator – has taken over operations for Merrill Gardens at ChampionsGate. The acquisition is part of a purchase agreement by Fortress Investment Group, who purchased the community in April. Under the agreement, Watermark will manage all aspects of the community’s operations including care, staffing, and programming.

The Central Florida community, located at 8400 Champions Gate Blvd. in ChampionsGate, has been renamed The Glades at ChampionsGate.




“Watermark communities are known for highly trained and caring associates, a lifestyle built on choice with a focus on integrative wellness and innovative programs,” said David Barnes, CEO and President of Watermark Retirement Communities. “We are looking forward to this new chapter at The Glades at ChampionsGate and working with the local team to create an extraordinary and innovative community where residents and associates thrive.”

The company places a strong emphasis on resident well-being, which each program, event, outing and experience, created with the four pillars of well-being – mind, body, spirit, and community – in mind. Experiences are then tailored to the individual resident and their unique abilities.

“Our local team is excited to learn under the leadership of Watermark’s regional and national teams,” said Heather Corton, Executive Director of The Glades at ChampionsGate. “They have a strong reputation in the senior living industry and their emphasis on whole-person wellness aligns with our vision for The Glades at ChampionsGate. We are so excited to introduce our residents to the Watermark way of life and to welcome new residents to our growing community.”

The Glades at ChampionsGate offers 114 independent living, 73 assisted living, and 36 memory care residences ranging from studios to two-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a fitness center, movie theater, swimming pool, and four unique dining venues. The community also offers a full calendar of award-winning programs and classes through Watermark University.

The Glades at ChampionsGate is a pet-friendly community.

Watermark Retirement Communities, based in Tucson, Arizona, currently manages 72 operational senior living communities across 22 states, with five other properties under development in Watersound, Marco Island, Coral Gables and West Palm Beach, Florida, and in Oceanside, California.

Watermark has more than 30 years of experience in the senior living industry and has been named one of the top 25 Best Workplaces for Aging Services by Fortune.

Fortress Investment Group, a leading global investment manager headquartered in New York, also has a long history in the senior living industry. The company has over two decades of experience in senior living, including 14 years as the owner of Brookdale Senior Living, which manages more than 680 communities in 41 states.

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