Combined with an undisclosed majority investment from PrudentialReal Estate Investors, the debt allowed Shelter Group torecapitalize the communities, relates Mitchell Kiffe, Freddie Mac'svice president of production and sales. The portfolio consists of880 units--in five independent living and two assisted livingproperties--that operate under the Brightview brand in RhodeIsland, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia.

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"We liked everything about this transaction," says Kiffe. "We'vedone business with Prudential before. They're a great institutionalowner of real estate and they've got significant expertise andexperience in the senior housing space. Shelter was new to us butwe think they're a very strong owner, operator and developer ofseniors housing communities. So we like the sponsor and the realestate--most of it is relatively new--are quality properties ingood markets. The economics were favorable." Built between 1980 and2006 the communities all count common dining rooms and commercialkitchens among their amenities, and most of the units have fullkitchens or kitchenettes.

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While negotiating the deal in the middle of a shifting capitalmarket environment did pose a challenge, but Kiffe said thatbecause the transaction--as with most that involve institutionalplayers--had "modest" leverage; there was no need to alter itsterms.David Carliner, Shelter Group's executive vice president,describes the terms offered by Freddie Mac as "super competitive."Utilizing Freddie Mac's fixed-to-float option, the loans on theproperties carry 10-year terms at a fixed rate with full-yieldmaintenance, followed by one year at a floating rate, relatedKiffe, adding that the debt is pre-payable at par. Seven years ofthe term are partially interest only.

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For Freddie, which is known for its business on thesingle-family and traditional multifamily front, this is anotherstep into its expansion into the seniors housing space. "Theseniors housing market is growing by leaps and bounds," says Kiffe.Last year, the firm completed $1-billion worth of seniors housingdeals, and the year before, about $1.5 billion, he reveals. "It isan attractive segment of the multifamily mortgage market, and weare trying to grow that business."

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