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SEATTLE-A 19-story, 100-unit seniors housing tower will be rising soon on the campus of Horizon House, a nonprofit retirement community here that sits across from Virginia Mason Hospital in the First Hill neighborhood. The new 295,000-sf tower is part of a $74-million expansion and renovation project that GlobeSt.com first reported on in September 2004.

Renovation of existing structures of the campus got under way at the start of the year with internal cash and an interim line of credit. Last month, Horizon House closed on $96.7 million in financing that is allowing it to get on with the next phase, which includes demolition of the north wing of the existing facility and construction of the tower. A portion of the funds are also being used to refund Horizon House’s Series 1995 Bonds.

The financing includes a $40-million short-term construction loan and $56.7 million in tax-exempt long-term variable rate bonds issued by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. The construction loan is provided by Key Bank with participation by Bank of America and Union Bank of California; the variable rate bonds are secured by a letter-of-credit from Bank of America with participation from Key Bank and Union Bank of California.

The financing was arranged by Herbert J. Sims & Co., a Southport, CT-based investment bank focused on providing financing for the senior living industry. In addition to the financing, Sims also structured and placed a 10-year unsecured interest rate swap and a five-year interest rate cap to manage the interest rate risk on the variable rate bonds.

As part of the bond financing requirements, 70% of apartments in the new tower must be reserved with a deposit equal to 10% of the apartment entrance fee. Horizon House executive director Bob Anderson told GlobeSt.com last year that he organization’s wait list has topped 300 for the past three years.

The tower will have five underground levels and a new residential health and wellness center. Apartments in the new tower would range from 861-sf units with one bedroom, one bathroom and a den to 1,281-sf corner units with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a den. Entrance fees start at $270,400, with monthly fees for one person starting at $1,460.

The project manager is the Seneca Real Estate Group. The general contractor is Lease Crutcher Lewis. The architect is NBBJ.

Horizon House currently serves about 450 individuals 60 years of age and older through a variety of housing options and service programs. There have been hundreds on a waiting list for the past few years. Once the expansion project is completed, Horizon House will be able to serve more than 600 individuals.

The current expansion project marks the fourth time Horizon House has grown over three decades. The retirement community–the first near Downtown Seattle–got its start in 1961 when the Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ bought what was the Baldwin Apartment building (built in 1954) and converted it to retirement living.

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