NorthStar Splurges on Retirement

NorthStar Healthcare Income has completed its fourth transaction with Watermark Retirement Communities for no small change.
Ron Jeanneault, NorthStar Healthcare

Ron Jeanneault, NorthStar Healthcare

NorthStar Healthcare Income, Inc. has acquired a $639.3 million portfolio of senior housing communities from subsidiaries of Fountains Senior Living Holdings, L.L.C.

The portfolio included 15 continuing care communities and 23 contracted life estate units, with approximately 3,637 units located in 11 states, with the largest concentrations in New York, California, Florida and Michigan.

Watermark Retirement Communities, Inc. currently operates the portfolio and will continue to do so under the new owners.

“Watermark is a valued relationship, with this investment representing the fourth transaction that we have completed together,” Ron Jeanneault, NorthStar Healthcare’s president & CEO, said in a company statement. “[Our] ability to leverage established relationships with premier sponsors provides access to significant investment opportunities to further expand and diversify our senior housing portfolio. This transaction demonstrates our positive reputation, our ability to deploy capital into high-quality portfolios and the strength of our investment platform.”

The six entrance-fee properties were acquired directly by NorthStar Healthcare and leased to affiliates of Freshwater pursuant to a master net lease, while the nine rental properties were acquired in a joint venture with an affiliate of Freshwater, with NorthStar owning 97 percent.

Overall resident occupancy of the portfolio was approximately 85 percent as of the end of March.

According to a March report by Marcus & Millichap, every sector of the seniors housing market has positive momentum entering 2015 as the national economic picture brightens and demographic trends favor strengthening demand.

“Much of the ambiguity that faced the sector over the past few years has dissipated, though some of those factors may resurface in the years ahead,” the report says. “Similar to other real estate sectors, investors intend on expanding their portfolios this year while interest rates remain relatively low and the clouds that hung over the fate of reimbursements have begun to clear.”

To help with this deal, NorthStar Healthcare obtained fixed rate financing through Freddie Mac’s Multi-Family Seniors Housing Loan Program, with an aggregate principal amount of approximately $410 million and a fixed interest rate of 3.92 percent and a term of seven years.