HJ Sims Steers Phased Repositioning Through Turbulent Market
* Images above are from The Waterford Groundbreaking Ceremony held on January 27, 2023.
Initially organized in 1976, Lifespace is among the largest nonprofit owner/operators of life plan senior communities in the country with 17 communities across seven states, serving nearly 4,000 seniors. The Lifespace Obligated Group is currently rated “BBB” (Stable Outlook) by Fitch Ratings. Lifespace engaged HJ Sims in early 2022 to explore financing options for a sizable expansion and repositioning at Lifespace’s campus in Juno Beach, FL, The Waterford, as well as additional capital expenditures at several other Florida Lifespace communities.
Volatility capital markets and construction costs, particularly in the fixed-rate market as the Federal Reserve increased their targeted Federal Funds Rate at an unprecedented pace can create undue risk. Lifespace determined that an approach grounded in risk mitigation was best suited to accomplish its goals for The Waterford community. The planned project was split into two separate, standalone components, within the $85 million Series 2022 financing. The initial stage will include renovations to the IL apartment lobby, dining area, and wellness center; entry drive reconfiguration, including a new guardhouse with gated access; and 8 new independent living units. The phasing plan will allow much-needed improvements to commence, while key milestones related to the larger project, which is anticipated to include a larger independent living and assisted living expansion, are met.
To select the lending partner, HJ Sims conducted an impartial request for proposals process given the size and duration of the financing for the project. Lifespace received a number of favorable proposals and ultimately decided in late summer 2022 to proceed with a single banking partner. However, before the financing could be completed, the initial banking partner pulled out of their commitment. Despite the rising rate environment and tightening credit markets, HJ Sims was able to assist Lifespace in efficiently pivoting to another banking partner while still securing several important covenant concessions and maintaining the original financing timeline.
On November 16, 2022, HJ Sims facilitated the closing of the $85,00,000 financing, which was structured as a tax-exempt long-term, amortizing loan with a 7-year initial term. The financing has an interest-only period of three years, after which the loan will amortize over a 27-year straight-line amortization schedule. The loan’s term will extend for seven years. On the closing date, the long-term loan was 5.085%. HJ Sims also negotiated no requirement for a hedge on the long-term loan. Because HJ Sims was able to deftly navigate the changing markets and bank partner changes, the Lifespace financing was able to proceed without stalling, allowing Lifespace to continue the project uninterrupted and receive reimbursements for its previous outlays. In addition, certain lender terms and covenants of the Series 2021 financing were modified to provide more flexibility for the Series 2022 financing as well as Lifespace’s future plans.
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