Features

Steve Rinkle – PRS

Creating senior housing for the young-at-heart

This could be his home someday, an innovative and amenity-rich senior community taking shape at Arizona State University that, upon its expected opening later this year, could serve as a template for other campuses.

But at least for the foreseeable future, the 60-something Steve Rinkle will be quite happy in his home on the wild and scenic Oregon coast. However, should his needs change, he’ll have options in the Phoenix Valley and elsewhere—options that he’s been at the forefront of assembling.

Rinkle is the long-time general counsel of PRS—Medford, Oregon-based Pacific Retirement Services—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit provider of mostly upscale affordable senior living facilities in six Western states. There’s a retirement revolution underway, he says, explaining that today’s baby boomers—of which he is one—are more active than previous generations of retirees and future retirees, and want to keep physically and mentally alert well into their golden years.

Well, there’s no better place to do so than on a college campus, and—as Rinkle reminds—the acclaimed university in Tempe and the residents of this project stand to benefit from such a new arrangement.

“We anticipate significant changes in how colleges operate in the future,” he tells Vanguard in late summer. “They’ll be increasingly reliant on the non-traditional student who could be a retiree. One’s intellectual curiosity doesn’t decrease just because of age.”

Continuum of care

The Mirabella at ASU project could provide such students for the university, one never being too old to pursue an interest in art, music, computer science or any other subject. Residents here will have student ID cards and enjoy the same access to classes, recreational facilities, and sporting and cultural events as everyone else on campus. Each year three graduate students from ASU’s Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music will receive free room and board at Mirabella in return for showcasing their talent five days a week.

The finishing touches of this 20-story retirement community are now being applied, just a few years after PRS submitted the winning bid in a nationwide request for proposals. There will be 252 independent, market-rate living units, 11 assisted-living units, 20 memory-support suites and 21 private skilled nursing suites.

“We’re providing what the industry calls a continuum of care,” Rinkle says. “A resident starts out living independently but as they age their needs may change to assisted living. Then, if they are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they may have to move into another unit. That’s how we built this community: by projecting what demand will be at each level of care.”

It also took a creative approach in other areas, he says, this being an ambitious real estate project undertaken by a nonprofit company partnering with a nonprofit entity, University Realty, that raises private resources for ASU.

The land use aspect was simple, with university real estate not subject to local zoning. More challenging for Rinkle was the complex financial structure. That’s because PRS is subject to extensive regulations necessary to retain its nonprofit status while closing on a tax-exempt $250 million bond. Nonprofits can’t take on too much debt, and PRS invests between $30 million and $40 million per year to reposition its 12 senior communities.

Once the Mirabella opens to residents there will be other regulations such as those governing Medicare payments, as well as the rules in all states where PRS has holdings: Arizona, California, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

No time to slack off

“Each state may have its own pay equity laws, especially in the Northwest,” Rinkle says. “New civil rights laws concerning employees are evolving, as are the regulations for tax-exempt organizations and public charities like us. It’s very unpredictable and very broad and each day is different. That’s what I love most and hate most about my job.”

But Rinkle has been the PRS legal boss since 2005, knows the ropes and, as he nears retirement, sees Mirabella at ASU as an appropriate way to cap a career.

A Duke University grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration, he earned a master’s in the subject from Indiana University Bloomington and served as a budget analyst for the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 1986 to 1987. Next came UC Berkeley Law, Rinkle earning his JD in 1990 and logging five years-plus with the noted West Coast firm of Davis Wright Tremaine. He then spent a decade as senior assistant counsel for Jackson County, Oregon, a position he credits with prepping him well for the PRS role he accepted in 2005.

“With a nonprofit charity I deal with many of the issues I did as a county attorney,” Rinkle says. “My academic and professional background has been in public service, which I’ve enjoyed immensely and gotten a lot of satisfaction.”

It’ll be very satisfying to see Mirabella at ASU open despite some COVID-19 disruptions to the supply chain and the need for on-site social distancing. Nevertheless, he says it’s been a positive experience and while PRS’ expansion plan has slowed, it will resume.

And well it should; there’s a waiting list at most of the company’s communities that include four each in California and Oregon, and one each in Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and—very shortly—Arizona.

That last one, of course, could be an industry disrupter, a win-win, Rinkle says, for young and old. Possibilities for innovation abound, and he wants to explore all options between now and when he does settle into a retirement that will mix travel with pro bono and volunteer work.

And while he’s not getting younger, Rinkle sees his advancing age as an asset for the cause he serves.

“In less than a year I’ll satisfy the minimum-age requirement for our communities,” he says. “Most of our residents aren’t my age but nevertheless I feel my age gives me the ability to empathize and understand the perspective of retirees.”

It’s a perspective that’s not about the rocking chair.

Published on: November 10, 2020

regions:

categories: ,

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.

LATEST EDITION

Winter II 2021

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.