Upgrades On Tap For BRC

Retirement Community Looks To Improve Nursing Facility

Posted: May 6, 2013

The Bridgewater Retirement Community’s nursing facility is getting major modifications — and it’s doing so with a little help from its friends, representatives say.


“[We’re] looking at a culture change in the way we provide services,” said Karen McNeal, vice president of marketing for Bridgewater Retirement Community, which legally goes by Bridgewater Homes Inc. and Bridgewater Village Inc., both not for profit agencies.


The nursing facility, called the Huffman Health Center, will transform from a hospital model to a household model in an effort to improve residents’ privacy, Jim Weaver, BRC’s chief financial officer, said.


But BRC’s renaissance depends on approval of loan sponsorships by the Bridgewater, Broadway and Woodstock development authorities. The issue will come up for approval by the respective towns’ councils on consecutive Tuesdays this month.


However, the arrangement won’t cost the towns any money.


“We don’t actually borrow from the town,” Weaver said, explaining that the loans will come from SunTrust Bank out of Harrisonburg.


“It is a sponsorship,” Bob Holton, Bridgewater’s superintendent, said.


Under Virginia’s tax code, nonprofit organizations can get tax-exempt loans from banks if sponsored by development authorities — either industrial, in the case of both Broadway and Bridgewater, or economic, like Woodstock’s, according to Mandy Belyea, Woodstock’s secretary treasurer who explained that the two authorities are “recognized as the same.”


“It’s a way to let Virginia business[es] and industries get a better rate on their loans than they normally get just walking in the door of a bank,” Holton said.


Broadway and Woodstock are expected to approve resolutions Tuesday, with Broadway sponsoring up to $10 million and Woodstock up to $7 million, officials said. Bridgewater is likely to authorize up to $10 million on May 14.


“We’d be doing all of it but the state limits you to $10 million a year,” Holton said. “Most of the town of Bridgewater’s part is going to be refinancing” of current debt.


Since 1990 when Weaver started with BRC, the community has used Bridgewater’s IDA four other times. This is the first time it has gone to another locality, he said.


For their help, the towns will be paid a $4,000 filing fee by Bridgewater Retirement Community, and also one tenth of one percent of the unpaid principal balance each year, Belyea said.


“It’s no risk, all reward,” Holton said. “The towns have no liability in this.” Kyle O’Brien, Broadway’s town manager, and Belyea echoed that sentiment. Added Weaver: “If we default it’s between us and the bank. ... It’s good for the town, it’s good for us, it’s good for the bank.”


Construction is scheduled to start in July, Weaver said, and cost $16 million.


After construction, 70 percent of Huffman residents will live in private rooms compared to the 70 percent who share rooms now, Weaver said.


“It’s pretty much where the industry is going with smaller units and a lot more privacy,” Weaver said.


The project starts with additions to both sides of Huffman and then renovations to its middle, Weaver said, but capacity will remain constant at about 139. Weaver explained that part of the loan would be for short-term construction debt, while BRC raised money from donors.


“Ultimately we’re going to end up with less than $20 million of [total] debt,” he said.


Contact Alex Rohr at 574-6293 or arohr@dnronline.com

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