CHICAGO—Privately owned Aviv REIT Inc., which specializes in owning post-acute and long-term care skilled nursing facilities and other health care properties, has commenced an initial public offering of 13.2 million shares at $18 to $20 per share, a move that could raise about $300 million.

The trust's common stock has been approved for listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "AVIV." The firm, which owns 258 properties, intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to repay certain indebtedness and for general corporate purposes, including the potential acquisition of additional properties in the ordinary course of business.

In a fourth quarter report released last week, Chairman and CEO Craig Bernfield says 2012 marked a successful year for the trust. "We grew and diversified our portfolio by investing $226 million through acquisitions, property reinvestment and new construction,” he says in a statement. “We also strategically sold $36 million of properties which we redeployed into other attractive investments. With 38 operator relationships, including six new relationships in 2012, and strong liquidity, we are well positioned to continue our growth and diversification in 2013."

Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are acting as joint book-running managers of the offering, and Citigroup, RBC Capital Markets, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, RBS and CSCA will act as co-managers.