Saint John’s Communities announced that it has closed financing and begun construction on 88 new independent living units in a 21-story tower, a wellness area and a secondary dining venue addition to the existing Saint John’s On The Lake campus north of downtown Milwaukee. The current 10-story facility includes 113 independent living units, 20 assisted living units and 52 skilled nursing units. Financing was closed on October 14, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 15 and construction formally began October 19. The $84m financing was one of the largest fixed rate seniors living bond transactions year-to-date in the country. The transaction was recently nominated for Midwest Deal of The Year by The Bond Buyer.
Over 70% of the project’s independent living units had been reserved and construction documents and bids were in place prior to the freeze of the credit markets in late 2008 and early 2009. The $84m financing includes funding for construction of the new building, refinancing of existing debt and reimbursement for past construction activities. The financing consisted of non-rated bonds issued by WHEFA, the Wisconsin Health & Educational Facilities Authority. The bonds were sold to a mix of private retail investors and institutional investors and were oversubscribed.
Witz Company, a development consulting firm based in Madison, Wisconsin, has provided development and consulting services to the project since 2007. Other team members on the project include Perkins Eastman Architecture of Chicago, Continuum Architects & Planners of Milwaukee, Spectrum Marketing of Gastonia, NC, VJS Construction of Pewaukee and WipFli CPAs and Consultants of Madison and Milwaukee who provided market study and financial feasibility services. Ziegler Securities underwrote and sold the bonds.