New “household” SNF under construction in Connecticut

A not-for-profit provider of long-term care in southern Connecticut, Jewish Senior Services (JSS) is planning on moving its 360-bed skilled nursing facility in Fairfield, Connecticut across the city line to Bridgeport where the company is building a new senior care campus, to be called Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Campus at Park Avenue. In Connecticut, you cannot move skilled nursing beds unless they are in the new “household” format, where you have groups of 14 private rooms in an area that all share a kitchen and other common areas (known also around the country as Green House Communities). Plus, the new SNFs can only have a maximum of 280 beds.

So, in April 2014, JSS broke ground on a new 326-unit facility with 280 skilled nursing beds (28 of which will be for rehab), separated into 18 households with 14 private rooms in each (the project happens to be the first in Connecticut with the new household format). JSS will also add 46 assisted living units to the campus. The construction cost is about $75 million, but the all-in development cost will be approximately $97 million, including $5 million to purchase the land, which was the former site of the Jewish Community Center.

To fund the project, JSS turned to HJ Sims to arrange $62 million in floating-rate, tax-exempt bonds issued by the City of Bridgeport and purchased by Peoples United Bank, which in turn sold some of the bonds to Webster Bank and Farmington Bank. The Series A bonds ($55.5 million) and Series B bonds ($6.5 million) mature in 2041 and 2026, respectively and came with quarterly floating interest rate payments of 1.68%, which commenced on May 29, 2014. JSS then entered into an interest rate swap with Peoples for fixed rates of 2.67% for Series A and 2.38% for Series B. JSS can terminate the swaps anytime on or after May 1, 2023 without making a termination payment. The campus is expected to open in the spring of 2016, and Sacred Heart University, adjacent to the current SNF in Fairfield, has agreed to buy the 15.6-acre site for $16.5 million once JSS moves to Bridgeport.

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