Sunrise Senior Living, McLean, Va., is taking its know-how to Germany, where it plans to open 25 retirement communities in large cities.But Simon Webster, who heads the firm's European development team, advises foreign investors to "recruit local people." That's because it's difficult to locate suitable sites, and to buy them once they're found. German owners "consider their properties something to keep with a long-term view rather than a salable item," Mr. Webster said at MIPIM, the International Property Market, in Cannes, France. "It's quite a challenge to find plots in good locations for an acceptable price." Sunrise, which has 380 senior living communities in 33 states and the District of Columbia, opened its first German property in Hamburg. Frankfurt, the seat of the company's German activities, and Bonn are next in line, with 2006 openings planned.

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