Cambridge boasts $125 million lending volume in 1998 Chicago-based Cambridge Realty Capital closed $125 million in seniors housing and healthcare loans in 1998, covering 40 facilities and 5,617 units. Cambridge Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Davis notes that the $125 million level was achieved despite volatility in the capital markets that began last August.

"New clients, new investors and inroads into states where we had not been active before were important highlights for the year," he says. During last fall's credit crunch, HUD remained a reliable source of funding, and Cambridge was able to strengthen its pipeline to highly qualified conventional lenders, according to Davis.

Cambridge also has created a new lending and investment vehicle to meet demand for joint-venture and equity products for proposed, large-scale independent and congregate seniors housing projects. Cambridge Senior Housing Participating Investors Joint Venture Program for New Development will function as a national market maker for upscale congregate and independent seniors communities in the top-30 metropolitan U.S. markets.

Davis says the new investment vehicle will be available to seniors housing and healthcare borrowers in a variety of formats, including equity, participating debt or combination debt-as-equity.

Constellation debuts HeartHaven facility in Bloomfield, Conn. Columbia, Md.-based Constellation Senior Services Inc. broke ground on the HeartHaven at Seabury, a 52-unit assisted living community designed for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. The facility is located in Bloomfield, Conn., on the existing Seabury Retirement Community campus, and is expected to open in December.

HeartHaven is also the name of Constellation's program for the care of dementia patients and is available in the company's assisted living communities throughout Maryland, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia. Of Constellation's 15 senior living properties, HeartHaven at Seabury is its first freestanding Alzheimer's care community and is a company prototype.

Federal office calls for enhanced nursing home standards The General Accounting Office (GAO) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human services recommended more federal enforcement of healthcare standards for nursing homes.

The recommendation follows a study that found 25% of U.S. nursing homes commit serious safety violations associated with rudimentary type care, such as giving patients enough water or turning them in their beds to prevent bed sores.

The GAO also suggested that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which oversees Medicare and Medicaid, do more to protect patients. For example, the GAO urged HCFA to stop payments to substandard homes and deal quickly with homes cited for deficiencies that contributed to a resident's death. It also urged HFCA to toughen its fine collection and increase monitoring of enforcement and investigations.

The GAO made its recommendations in March in a special report to the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Banc One tax credit funds provide equity for two projects Columbus, Ohio-based Banc One Capital Markets Inc. made equity closings for the Villas at Woodforest in Houston and Villas on Bear Creek in North Richland Hills, Texas, projects that have a reservation for Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

Villas at Woodforest, a 240-unit, five-building development, will receive approximately $11 million in equity from Banc One Tax Credit Fund V. As part of Banc One's single-source financing package, Bank One Texas, will provide an $8.5 million construction loan and Banc One Capital Funding Corp. has provided a Fannie Mae Forward Commitment of $7.4 million in permanent financing. The permanent loan has an 18-year term, 30-year amortization and a 7.6% interest rate.

Villas on Bear Creek, a 240-unit, five-building development, will receive approximately $8.6 million in equity from Banc One Tax Credit Fund VI. Bank One Texas will provide a $9.3 million construction loan, while Banc One funding Corp. has provided a Fannie Mae Forward Commitment of $8 million in permanent financing. The permanent loan an 18-year term, 30-year amortization and a 7.6% interest rate.

Three-quarters of the units in both properties will be rent-restricted and occupied by residents with incomes at or below 60% of area median income. The units are also restricted to occupants 62 years old or older.

Federal office calls for enhanced nursing home standards The General Accounting Office (GAO) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human services recommended more federal enforcement of healthcare standards for nursing homes. The recommendation follows a study that found 25% of U.S. nursing homes commit serious safety violations associated with rudimentary typecare, such as giving patients enough water or turning them in their beds to prevent bed sores.

The GAO also suggested that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which oversees Medicare and Medicaid, do more to protect patients. For example, the GAO urged HCFA to stop payments to substandard homes and deal quickly with homes cited for deficiencies that contributed to a resident's death. It also urged HFCA to toughen its fine collection and increase monitoring of enforcement and investigations.

The GAO made its recommendations in March in a special report to the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) has published The State of Seniors Housing 1998 - a report that summarizes fiscal year 1997 data from a national survey of 298 seniors housing properties representing more than 62,000 independent living units, assisted living beds and skilled-nursing beds.

The publication reports some notable findings, including how approximately 79% of properties included in the sample are owned by for-profit entities; median occupancy rates for the total sample are more than 95% with the highest median occupancy rates (97.5%) found in congregate properties and the lowest (91.9%) found in assisted living properties; and rent changes for all units/beds sampled continue to increase at rates exceeding inflation in broad consumer price indices over the same period.

The publication is a collaborative effort between ASHA, the Assisted Living Federation of America, American Health Care Association and the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industries. PriceWaterhouseCoopers served as a consultant for the publication, which can be ordered through ASHA by calling (202) 974-2338.