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MISSISAUGA, ONTARIO-Rapidly growing Chartwell Seniors Housing Real Estate Investment Trust has secured financing from ING Real Estate Australia for another eight long-term care facilities. The $245-million acquisition is the first joint Canadian deal by the two entities, which have partnered up for numerous purchases in the US.

“We are pleased to be extending our relationship with ING,” says Chartwell co-CEO Stephen Suske. “We look to involve them in further transactions as we build our position as the country’s largest owner and operator of retirement communities.” Chartwell plans to capitalize on an aging North American population to grow both internally and through acquisitions, says Suske, whose firm has been active on the latter front. Besides the Regency Care portfolio involving ING, Chartwell has acquired four other assisted living properties in recent months throughout Ontario, among then a 79-unit building in Sudbury, 90 units in Ottawa and a 323-unit complex in Mississauga.

ING Australia will give Chartwell half of the $87.5-million cash portion to pay for the Regency Care assets, while there will also be a $143.7-million assumption of mortgage debt by Chartwell at an average interest rate of 7.4%. Not only will the company own 1,384 long-term care beds in the eight facilities, Chartwell will also take over a contract to manage six long-term care properties encompassing another 814 beds.

All of the residences are 100% occupied and have extensive waiting lists, and most are located in high-growth communities in the Greater Toronto area. The smallest is the 160-unit Westmount in Kitchener, while the largest at 192 units is the Woodhaven in Markham. Others are the Willowgrove in Ancaster, Brant Centre in Burlington, the Waterford in Oakville, the Westbury in Etobicoke, the Wynfield in Oshawa and the WenLiegh, a 161-unit property in Chartwell’s hometown.

Four of the eight properties that Chartwell is buying have excess land zoned for future development of another 400 assisted or independent living units. The company also has an exclusive option to purchase stabilized communities from Spectrum Seniors Housing Development LP, Canada’s fastest-growing seniors housing development company.

The Canadian seniors market has seen increased interest from investors and healthcare-related real estate companies, the most public of which involved Ventas Inc. buying Sunrise Senior Living Real Estate Investment Trust. That deal for Sunrise’s entire portfolio has seemingly been settled following a series of court rulings prompted by a rival bid, with Kentucky based Ventas gaining shareholder approval at a special meeting last week in what amounts to a $2.3-billion transaction. That deal is slated to close this week, while the Regency Care pact is shooting to be finalized in early May.

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