The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights New Exec Director

Rocco Bertini, CDAL, has joined The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, a 275-unit luxury senior living residence at 21 Clark Street, opening in Spring 2020, as Executive Director. The Brooklyn Heights location is one of four in Watermark’s Élan Collection lifestyle brand of premier properties offering personal service with grand scale amenities. The $330 million Watermark at Brooklyn Heights is currently undergoing a renovation and conversion from a beloved historic Brooklyn hotel into the borough’s first luxury senior community.

The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights is owned by a partnership of the majority owner Kayne Anderson, which has invested $130 million into the project; the operator, co-developer, and minority owner Watermark/The Freshwater Group; and the development partner, minority owner, and construction owner’s representative Tishman Speyer.

“Watermark is a leader in the development of transformative senior living programs that improve residents’ quality of life by supporting not only their physical and intellectual health but also their emotional and spiritual well-being. The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights will provide seniors in the New York City market with a high quality retirement living option. We are delighted to welcome Rocco Bertini, one of the most experienced senior housing operations executives in the nation, to lead our newest property,” said Watermark’s Chairman David Freshwater.

“The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights is reimagining the concept of retirement living for discerning and active retirees who appreciate the cultural, social, and entertainment offerings of Brooklyn and New York City. This community will provide its members with outstanding opportunities to dine, learn, engage, and enjoy life, while receiving the highest levels of care. I look forward to contributing to the success of this extraordinary project,” added Bertini.

Bertini manages the day-to-day operations of the entire Watermark at Brooklyn Heights community, including financial, hiring and managing of senior personnel, development and implementation of all operational standards, strategic planning, training, programming, culinary services, healthcare services, and member engagement. He leads an executive, operations, and support team of more than 200 employees.

Prior to joining Watermark, Bertini served as Executive Director and General Manager of The Bristal at Jericho assisted living complex and the adjacent Encore Luxury Living senior residence in Jericho, NY. Bertini’s extensive experience in the senior living and hospitality industries also includes positions as Executive Director and General Manager for Atria Senior Living in Louisville, Kentucky and as Regional Director of Operations for Morrison Senior Living – The Compass Group in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bertini received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and an Associates Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Sullivan Community College. He is a Certified Director of Assisted Living (CDAL), as credentialed by the Senior Living Certification Commission (SLCC).

Located in the heart of the fashionable Brooklyn Heights Historic District, the 350,000-square foot property was originally constructed in 1928 as the Leverich Towers Hotel, which served as a haven for many celebrities and cultural icons, including the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1975, Watchtower purchased The Towers as housing for their local Jehovah’s Witness volunteer force, and restored the intricate architectural features that defined the building’s place in the Brooklyn Heights Historical District. The current renovation preserves much of the building’s original structure and history, while adding a stylish interior. At 16 stories, with a breathtaking rooftop terrace, garden, and Skyline club room, the Watermark at Brooklyn Heights will offer sweeping views of New York Harbor, the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty.

The building’s 275 apartments include 145 for independent living, 88 for assisted living, and 42 for memory care. The residences are offered in 78 different floor plans, uniquely configured, and harmoniously designed to embrace the building’s rich heritage. Ranging from studios to one- and two-bedrooms, the apartments at The Watermark will cater to each member’s tastes, space requirements, and preferences. Apartments are all thoughtfully crafted with an open floor arrangement and feature designer kitchens or kitchenettes and modern bathrooms with walk-in showers. Expansive, vintage mahogany-trimmed windows allow for abundant natural light and spectacular views. The mahogany windows and their surrounds were protected during construction and integrated into the new design, and the details throughout the project recall the building’s days as a sophisticated venue frequented by celebrities of the time.

On the first level, the light-filled grand lobby leads to welcoming spaces including a café, wood-paneled library, wine bar, salon, and contemporary art gallery. The Dining and Entertainment level includes an upscale, full-service restaurant; a European-style restaurant with an exhibition kitchen; a movie theater; and a live performing arts center. An indoor heated swimming pool, fitness center, movement room, and wellness center are available on the Fitness and Wellness level. On the 16th floor, a rooftop clubroom with terraces offers comfortable seating and breathtaking views of Manhattan.

About Watermark Retirement Communities

The Tucson, Arizona-based Watermark team has nearly 30 years of experience creating retirement communities that offer assisted living and memory care, as well as independent living. The organization currently has 63 operating communities (with 5 under development or redevelopment) across 22 states and was named the thirteenth largest senior living operator in 2018, according to the American Seniors Housing Association. Two regional communities are already in operation in Millbrook and Tuckahoe, New York, with 12 others in upstate New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Watermark places great emphasis on curating programs that are unique to each location, striving to facilitate experiences that are far removed from the traditional concept of senior living. Through an extensive list of engagement opportunities, members are enabled to remain consistently inspired, active and catered to in every possible manner. Watermark communities are shaped by the relationships that form between fellow members, families and associates. To learn more, please visit

About Watermark’s Élan Collection

The newly launched Élan Collection creates a new standard in senior living and care, blending ageless style with leading edge innovation, personal service with grand-scale amenities, intimate tranquility with engaging opportunities and a spirited lifestyle with customized care. Along with The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, the Élan Collection features four other premium locations – The Watermark at Westwood Village in Los Angeles, The Watermark at Napa Valley, California, and The Hacienda at the River and The Hacienda at the Canyon in Tucson, Arizona.

About Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors

Kayne Anderson Real Estate (KA Real Estate) is a leading real estate private equity investor in senior housing, medical office, off-campus student housing, and self-storage. KA Real Estate has raised dedicated real estate private equity funds totaling approximately $7 billion in commitments, investing in opportunistic equity, core returns and real estate debt. KA Real Estate is part of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., a $30 billion alternative investment management firm (AUM as of 3/31/19) with more than 30 years of successful experience in the real estate, energy, credit, and growth capital sectors.

About Tishman Speyer

Tishman Speyer is a leading owner, developer, operator and fund manager of first-class real estate around the world.  Founded in 1978, Tishman Speyer is active across the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia, building and managing premier office, residential and retail space in 29 key global markets for industry-leading tenants.  The firm has acquired, developed and operated a portfolio of over 175 million square feet with a total value of approximately US $94 billion spread over 411 assets.  Signature assets include New York City’s Rockefeller Center, São Paulo’s Torre Norte, The Springs in Shanghai, Lumière in Paris and OpernTurm in Frankfurt. Tishman Speyer currently has projects at different stages of development in Boston, Beijing, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Washington, DC.  The firm also operates portfolios of prominent office properties in Berlin, Paris, Chicago and London.  For more information, visit and find us on social media @tishmanspeyer.



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