HJ Sims Partners with The Bethel Methodist Home to Refinance High Interest Rate Acquisition Bonds

CONTACT: Tara Perkins, AVP | 203-418-9049 | tperkins@hjsims.com

HJ Sims Partners with The Bethel Methodist Home to Refinance High Interest Rate Acquisition Bonds

FAIRFIELD, CT– HJ Sims (Sims), a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm founded in 1935, is pleased to announce the successful December 2020 closing of a $30,030,000 financing for The Bethel Methodist Home, d/b/a The Knolls, a non-profit CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) located in Valhalla, NY. The community, which opened in 2002 under the name Westchester Meadows, offers independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services on one campus.

In 2008, Westchester Meadows experienced financial difficulty, which culminated in a bankruptcy filing in 2015. The community was acquired in 2016 with the proceeds of tax-exempt and taxable bonds privately placed with a single bondholder. Under new management, The Knolls began to thrive. Occupancy levels increased from 57% in 2016 to 91% pre-COVID and management has invested $12 million in renovations. Management contacted Sims to assist in refunding the existing high interest rate debt.

In addition to reducing the interest rate, a portion of the 2016 debt was to mature in 2023 and needed to be restructured. The challenge was to create a level debt service structure that would avoid the 2023 balloon payment while achieving overall savings. Additionally, a non-call provision blocked refunding the debt until 2024. Management and Sims negotiated an early exit, but it required a tight timeline for closing. Sims structured the taxable bond series to mature in 10 years. To lower debt service and create level annual payments, the tax-exempt series does not begin to amortize until the taxable series is retired, and extends 11 years beyond the prior maturity.

The new bonds needed to be issued in December 2020, but redemption could not occur until January 2021. Despite the success of The Knolls, marketing bonds for a recently financially troubled community during COVID-19 posed challenges. Sims’ team specializes in identifying and communicating the underlying strengths of every financing; this expertise was leveraged in marketing and the refunding was completed in 90 days.

On December 23, 2020, Sims closed on the $30.03 million Series 2020 Bonds for The Knolls with 20%+ of the issue purchased by Sims’ Private Wealth Management clients. The yield on the 10-year taxable series was 6.125% and the interest rate on the 35-year tax-exempt series was 4.90%, below the 7.00% yield on the prior debt.

“25 years ago, I worked with Sims and was waiting for the day to do another financing with their superb team of professionals. Finally, that day came, and Andrew Nesi and his team did not disappoint. During COVID-19, with a very small window dictated to us by our current lender and the holiday season upon us, we successfully met all deadlines and refinanced The Knolls through a combination of tax-exempt and taxable bonds, saving close to a $1,000,000 per year in interest and fees. Andrew recognized the strength of this community in the mere four years this campus has been part of Bethel, and now through this refinancing, strengthened our position. I look forward to many future endeavors with HJ Sims” – Beth Goldstein, CEO, The Bethel Methodist Home.

Financed Right® Solutions—Andrew Nesi: 203.418.9057 | anesi@hjsims.com

ABOUT HJ SIMS: Founded in 1935, HJ Sims is a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm. Headquartered in Fairfield, CT, Sims has nationwide investment banking, private wealth management and trading locations. Member FINRA, SIPC. Testimonials may not be representative of another client’s experience. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram.

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