BOSTON, Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Benchmark Senior Living, the leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to form an $890 million partnership with Health Care REIT, Inc. (NYSE: HCN), an S&P 500 company that invests across the full spectrum of senior housing and health care real estate. The partnership will include 34 Benchmark senior housing communities in six New England states, totaling 3,009 units. Benchmark Senior Living will become the largest operator in Health Care REIT's portfolio.
Under the terms of the agreement, Health Care REIT will own a 95 percent partnership interest and Benchmark Senior Living will own the remaining 5 percent interest and continue to operate the communities under a management contract. The Benchmark portfolio includes communities which provide services for Independent Living, Traditional Assisted Living, Specialized Services for the Memory Impaired, along with Respite Stay programs.
"This is a wonderful development for Benchmark, and for our residents and communities throughout New England," said Thomas H. Grape, Benchmark's chairman and CEO. "Health Care REIT is one of the nation's premier investors in the field and their goals for excellence in the senior living marketplace are perfectly aligned with ours. It's all one could hope for in a business partnership."
"It's important to note that Benchmark will continue to manage these communities as part of the partnership, so there will be no change in the day-to-day operations for our residents, or our associates," continued Mr. Grape.
The majority of the Benchmark communities in the partnership agreement offer a continuum of care, which is increasingly favored by consumers who desire to "age in place." These communities are considered to be some of the best-in-class for their operations, locations and physical plants. They are located in CT (14), MA (13), RI (3), NH (2), VT (1) and ME (1).
"This partnership will continue to enhance Health Care REIT's growth potential in an important market with a best-in-class operator. Benchmark is committed to improving the experience of senior living, as well as continuing to be one of the best places to work in the industry. At the same time, Benchmark is providing attractive returns for investors," said George L. Chapman, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Health Care REIT. "The Benchmark management team has produced exceptional net operating income growth despite a challenging economic climate. We look forward to the potential for future growth with Benchmark."
Benchmark's management team is headed by Tom Grape, who founded the company in 1997 and led it to become one of New England's fastest growing companies and one of the fastest growing assisted living operators in the nation. Mr. Grape is past chairman of the Assisted Living Federation of America and is widely regarded as one of the founding members of the modern senior housing industry. Stephanie Handelson joined the company as Chief Operating Officer in 2009 and has a track record of strong operational performance in the senior housing industry.
Health Care REIT anticipates growth of the Benchmark portfolio in excess of inflation in the future. Through the partnership, Health Care REIT will receive a right to fund certain future investments pursued by Benchmark, and the parties intend to expand the portfolio within Benchmark's existing footprint in New England.
"Our partnership with Health Care REIT marks an important turning point in the growth of Benchmark," said Tom Grape. "This positions us with a strong capital partner and a stable foundation to grow. We can now add properties and pursue new initiatives, like geographic expansion beyond our six New England states."
To learn more about the Benchmark Senior Living partnership and to view an interview with Tom Grape, visit Health Care REIT's website at www.hcreit.com/featuredpartners/Benchmark.
About Health Care REIT, Inc.
Health Care REIT, Inc., an S&P 500 company with headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, is a real estate investment trust that invests across the full spectrum of senior housing and health care real estate. The company also provides an extensive array of property management and development services. As of December 31, 2010, the company's broadly diversified portfolio consisted of 683 properties in 41 states. More information is available on the company's website at www.hcreit.com.
About Benchmark Senior Living
Founded in 1997, Benchmark Senior Living is the leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast and one of the nation's foremost assisted living providers. Benchmark provides its residents with a variety of senior living options including Independent Living, Traditional Assisted Living, Specialized Services for the Memory Impaired, and Respite Stay programs. Benchmark's 44 locations span Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont - featuring residences in the greater Boston, Hartford, New Haven, Providence and Cape Cod regions. Named as one of the Top 100 Places to Work for three consecutive years by the Boston Globe, Benchmark is focused on excellence in senior housing through personalized services to residents, a professional staff committed to adding quality to the lives of seniors, and unique programs designed to improve the experience of senior living. For more information, visit http://www.benchmarkquality.com.
SOURCE Benchmark Senior Living