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Seniors Housing Beat

Wolverine Equities snatches 14 Brighton Gardens Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott International Inc. has sold 14 of its Brighton Garden assisted living communities to Dallas-based Wolverine Equities Co. for $194 million. Wolverine Equities Co. is an affiliate of The Staubach Co., which is also based in Dallas. Marriott Senior Living Services will continue to operate the complexes, while Marriott International has provided credit support to the buyer to cover debt-service shortfalls and other expenses.

The communities are located in Greensboro, N.C.; Bethesda, Md.; Wheaton, Ill.; Northville, Mich.; Dayton, Ohio; St. Charles, Ill.; Columbia, Md.; Cleveland; Florham Park, N.J.; West Orange, N.J.; Dunwoody, Ga.; Kansas City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; and Tampa, Fla.

Brighton Gardens communities offer meal services, housekeeping, and a host of social, cultural and educational programs. Daily assistance is tailored for each resident, and specialized care for residents with Alzheimer's or other memory disorders is available at most of the communities.

Erickson lands in Massachusetts Catonsville, Md.-based Erickson Retirement Communities opens Brooksby Village, a retirement community in Peabody, Mass., this month. The community, which will have approximately 150 residents, is Erickson's first complex in Massachusetts.

Brooksby Village features one- and two-bedroom apartments, and monthly fees begin at $1,040. The complex emphasizes an active, independent lifestyle, and amenities include wellness programs, crafts rooms, gardening areas and various hobby clubs.

Affordable housing complex opens on Long Island Woodcrest Estates, a 256-unit, affordable housing community for seniors in Port Jefferson, N.Y., has recently opened. Elmsford, N.Y.-based Wilder Balter Partners LLC is the developer of the project. New York Lt. Gov. Mary O. Donahue and New York Housing Commissioner Joseph Lynch participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening.

Set on 48 acres, the community has one- and two-bedroom units. The rent for one-bedroom units varies from $775 to $792 per month, while the rent for the two-bedroom units is $954 per month. Amenities include a clubhouse that features a library, kitchen, fitness center, laundry facilities, billiard room and swimming pool.

The bulk of the project's financing was secured through the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. This money was combined with a series of bonds and tax credits, and the community also received a $3.9 million New York State Housing Trust Fund Loan. The Town of Brookhaven's Industrial Development Agency served as the bond issuing agency. The National Association of Home Builders awarded the project its "Most Creative Financing" award.

The sun also rises in suburban St. Louis McLean, Va.-based Sunrise Assisted Living Inc. will open its first Missouri community this fall, when the Sunrise Assisted Living Community in Chesterfield welcomes its first residents. St. Louis-based Paric Corp. is the general contractor of the $10 million, 76-suite facility, which was designed by Springfield, Va.-based Berry Rio & Associates. The 56,000 sq. ft., L-shaped structure features an exterior of brick and lap siding, and a wrap-around front porch.

The complex will have studios, one- and two-bedroom units, all of which will feature a private bath and kitchenette. Amenities will include a two-story grand foyer, bistro, library with fireplace, activity room and a formal dining area.

St. Louis-based Dominion Properties Inc., which assisted Sunrise in obtaining the Chesterfield location, is currently helping the company look for other sites.

The Seasons at Glenview Place enjoys spring debut Skokie, Ill.-based Parkside Senior Services LLC has opened The Seasons at Glenview Place, a 222-apartment retirement community in Glenview, Ill. Located near the Allstate Insurance campus in suburban Chicago, the community is in a residential neighborhood. Parkside is the owner and operator of the facility, which does not require entry fees.

The complex features 168 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and 54 assisted living units. The private apartments include kitchens, safety bars in all the bathrooms and an emergency response system. The Seasons at Glenview Place also features a number of common-area amenities, such as a fitness center and computer center.

Sundial Care Center to open in Modesto The Housing & Health Care Capital Group, based in Columbus, Ohio, has closed a $7.2 million mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for Sundial Care Center, a 69-unit assisted living facility in Modesto, Calif. A recently closed Sundial Inn is being converted into the facility. The financing was arranged using FHA Section 232 Substantial Rehabilitation guidelines. The non-recourse mortgage loan carries a fixed interest rate of 8.73% and will fully amortize over a 40-year term plus an eight-month construction period.

Shelter Development builds affordable shelter in Baltimore Baltimore-based Shelter Development LLC has begun construction of Park View at Coldspring, a 99-unit affordable apartment complex for independent seniors in Baltimore. Completion is slated for October.

The complex will feature 91 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units. Each apartment will contain a fully-equipped kitchen, cable television wiring, individually controlled utilities and carpet.

New assisted living facility on the way in Geneseo WMF/Huntoon, Paige Associates, Ltd., based in Edison, N.J., has closed a $5.8 million loan for the construction of Morgan Estates Adult Care Facility in Geneseo, N.Y. The facility will have 52 beds for assisted living and a 24-unit Alzheimer's wing. The loan carries an interest rate of 8.5% and will fully amortize over a 40-year term. The financing was provided under the guidelines of the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) Section 232 program. Tom Doody of WMF/Huntoon handled the loan.

The power of communication After living a few months in the Allendale Community for Mature Living in Allendale, N.J., Judy Skelton was struck by how little she knew about her peers living at the complex. "I'd pass these people in the hall all the time or see them in the elevator, and we didn't really know each other," she says. "We lived together, but didn't know the stories of each other's lives."

So Skelton, 59, who worked for 13 years as the editor of The Town Journal, a weekly community newspaper in Saddle River, N.J., decided she and her fellow residents should start talking. About four months ago, she created a weekly class called "Reminiscing with Judy." The purpose is to get the community's residents to share with each other the important moments and unique memories of their lives. About 10 residents attend each week, according to Skelton.

"I think it is a good way for people to get to know each other, to realize that everyone is an individual," she says.

Skelton's class is part of a whole spectrum of programs at Allendale that is designed to invigorate the lives of its residents. Other activities include T'ai Chi classes, Internet classes and various lectures.

The first few meetings were anything but smooth. "People just sat there," says Skelton. "No one talked, so I had to do all the talking, which I wasn't prepared to do. I felt like a high school English teacher with a room of reluctant students.

"Now, everyone is eager to share. I see a lot of laughing and smiling," she adds.

"These discussion groups are a wonderful way to help residents fend off the isolation many seniors suffer by offering a creative way to increase interpersonal communication," says Michael Giancarlo, administratorof the Allendale community.

Topics vary from week to week. Recently, residents were asked to bring a religious symbol and explain how it affected their lives. During another session, Skelton asked them to bring in old family photographs.

"We've covered sports, where you live, just about everything," she says. A recent side discussion about a malfunctioning elevator led to lengthy conversation about Skelton's experiences in the various blackouts that occurred in New York City in the late-1960s.

While pleased with the conversations, Skelton also strongly encourages participants to write down their memories and observations so that their children and grandchildren will have a means to more fully understand their family history.

"I firmly believe that everyone's life is a story and that it should be written down and documented," she says. "If it's not written down, what happens to it? It could be forgotten."

One of the class participants has taken Skelton's words to heart and is writing an autobiography.

The Allendale community is privately owned and operated by Dr. Hector Giancarlo - who is Michael's father - and his family. The complex has three components. Skelton lives in The Atrium, a 166-unit complex for healthy, active seniors. There is also the Allendale Nursing Home, which is a 120-bed skilled nursing facility, and Carlton Court, a complex of 50 intermediate care, private and semi-private rooms for seniors.

The impact of Skelton's program may be on a small scale, but do not tell that to the participants, who have discovered a vastly enriching way to spend their time. The development of Skelton's program shows the kind of meaningful impact on seniors lives a community can have.

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