Gary Shiffman

After Sun Commiunities Inc. released its quarterly earnings results Thursday (April 27), company executives participated in a conference call with investment analysts.

“I’m pleased to share that 2017 has gotten off to an excellent start,” said Chairman and CEO Gary Shiffman. “While the quarter was a relatively quiet one from an external-growth perspective, our prior hard work on that front, coupled with our best-in-class operating platform and focus on sustained internal growth allowed Sun to deliver 22% FFO (funds from operations) per-share growth, a growth rate that we are certainly very proud of.”

The company will continue to eye growth opportunities in states with high barriers to entry and aras with waterfront destinations, Shiffman said during the call.

“In the first quarter, we purchased a 328-site RV resort outside of Sacramento, Calif., which further expands our presence in a key high-barrier-to-entry state. Subsequent to the quarter’s end, we closed on a fully entitled 194-acre parcel of land in Myrtle Beach, S.C.,” he continued. “Over the course of the last year we’ve successfully entitled and zoned this land to build up to a 775-site RV resort, approximately six miles away from the ocean.

“Additionally, and keeping with our intention to deepen our presence in the West, we were awarded the opportunity to redevelop a 267-site RV resort on the highly desirable San Diego Bay by its port authority, the development subject to successfully negotiating a long-term lease with the Port Authority of San Diego,” he continued.

“We have now completed the high season for our southern RV properties and our first with Carefree in the portfolio. The season went extremely well,” Shiffman noted.

The company also anticipates a strong summer season across the northern U.S. and Ontario, with transient RV sites 65% booked for the season, ahead of 56% at the same time last year, President and COO John McLaren said. Call-center reservations are up 44% so far this year.

The company is working on adding another 400 RV sites through the end of the year, and it’s building a 322-site RV resort in Paso Robles, Calif.

The company is also developing a 352-site expansion to the Larkspur, Colo., Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort that Sun acquired in the fourth quarter of 2016, with plans to open the expansion in 2018, McLaren said.

The Myrtle Beach new park should open its first 435-site phase in 2018.