Home Features As Malibu Beach Recovery Expands, Overall Malibu Market Sees Strong Census
As Malibu Beach Recovery Expands, Overall Malibu Market Sees Strong Census
Written by Ted Jackson   
December 2012

Malibu Beach Recovery Center, whose six-bed facility perched atop Corral Canyon is archetypical of the luxury addiction treatment drug rehab centers that have sprouted up through the high-end residential areas up the coast north of Los Angeles, has grown to 12-beds using the preferred method of expansion in the highly unique, and now famous, addictions treatment niche known as the Malibu Market. Malibu Beach simply bought another house which, under state wide California community mental health legislation, automatically entitled Malibu Beach Rewcovery's Brentwood HouseMalibu Beach to another six treatment beds irregardless of whether such expansion were allowed under local zoning rules.

Malibu Market Turnaround?

Actually, Malibu Beach already owned the house and has simply upgraded its function, and licensure, from high-end sober house to treatment facility, another time tested method of expansion in the Malibu Market, used by treatment entrepreneurial luminaries such as Richard Taite of Cliffside Malibu, which started out as high end sober living and is now one of the most financially successful centers in Malibu. Brentwood House, Malibu Beach's new facility, is not a particularly significant development in and of itself except that it represents, and may be indicative of, the fact that the bellwether luxury Malibu Market has reached bottom, pulling out of 3-yr slump that was driven by a dearth of the cash-pay client that was previously the life blood of Malibu but who, after the financial crisis, came to be in short supply. Not wanting to go out on a limb - she's gun shy after having opened Malibu Beach Recovery just as the crisis began to unfold -  founder and CEO Joan Borston won't predict another boom, but she's definitely optimistic. "All I know is that everyone's full," she said adding that the market has been steadily firming over the last six months. "And we are seeing the return of the cash pay client in significant numbers."

From Russia With Love

In the mid-1980s, famed Russian Soviet-era actor Oleg Vidov made a fateful and life-changing decision. To be with the women he loved - who just happened to be Joan Borsten, tJoan and Oleg started Malibu Beach Recovery Center five years agohen a reporter with the LA Times covering the film industry - Vidov made a headline grabbing move to defect to the West. Since then, the two have lived happily and prosperously, often using Vidov's high level Russian connections to foster business opportunities like, for example, when the two teamed with a couple of ex-Soviet pilots to run a cargo operation using former Soviet military transports stationed in the Ukraine. About five years ago,  Borsten and Vidov - a romantic lead actor in the Cary Grant and Robert Redford molds - bought a first class property high atop Corral Canyon in Malibu, opening a high-end six-bed treatment center.

Ahead of the Curve

An astute business women, Borsten is executive director at Malibu Beach, where she eschewed the usual Malibu center marketing strategy, which was essentially to use fat margins from high-end price points to finance vast indiscriminate, but ultimately effective, direct-to-consumer advertising like Google pay-per-click and even, in the case of players like Passages, national cable television advertising. Instead, Borsten employed a savvy, targeted marketing to fill beds at Malibu Beach Recovery, leveraging her deep connections in the film business that stretched past her time covering the industry as a reporter to her father, who started off as a publicist, worked variously as a screenwriter and ultimately wound up as a top studio executive. So, at a time when the two to three dozen Malibu Market centers - at one point Treatment Magazine estimated that market's annual revenues at $500M - held to cash pay as ironclad, Borston was working the acting and technical guild's well insured members to fills her beds. Now, of course, utilization review and insurance acceptance is widespread throughout the Malibu Market as centers were forced to adapt to changing circumstances.

Different Types of Expansion

Malibu Beach's Corral Canyon houseAt the new Brentwood House, Malibu Beach clientele will be in the heart of bustling Brentwood, close to employment and volunteering opportunities galore. "We have a long-term model of care, so a lot of our clients stay well past the usual 30-days that are typical in the Malibu Market," says Borston. "The Brentwood location is ideal as we start to introduce clients back into society." Certainly, the expansion strategy at Malibu Beach Recovery of offering care at two distinct locales - one remote and high in the hills, the other in a busy upscale city environment - makes a lot of sense in terms of offering continuum of care and step-down for the client. It is also fundamentally different than the strategies pursued by many other Malibu Market players, much to the consternation of neighbors, who saw market pioneers like the Khaleghis of Creative Care buy up entire streets practically, with facilities operating out four and even five contiguous addresses.


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