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Senior housing plan returns
Authority weighs request for $45M
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Forsyth County News


Plans for a senior housing community that previously sought a federal loan with Forsyth County’s help have been revived.

The Development Authority of Forsyth County on Thursday will consider a $45 million bond request for a nonprofit group, which wants to fund the project.

The request from Improved Living-Towne Club Windermere Assisted Living will be aired during a public hearing, set for 9 a.m. in the county administration building.

Improved Living is a nonprofit that has a development agreement in place with Almquist Hansen for the construction of Towne Club Windermere, billed as a high-end senior living facility.

Attorney Ethan Underwood, who represents the applicant, explained that the nonprofit helps seniors find housing.

“It’s a special purpose entity that is set up to facilitate these types of bond transactions,” Underwood said.

He explained that the bank loan, when issued through the authority, is exempt from federal income tax, allowing the lending institution to offer a lower interest rate.

According to the public notice, the bond amount sought would fund acquisition of about 14.5 acres at the corner of Trammel Road and Windermere Parkway, as well as “the construction thereon of a 178-unit senior housing community consisting of 112 independent living apartments, 40 assisted living apartments and 26 memory care beds.”

A full presentation on the project will be made at the meeting, Underwood said.

His law firm typically represents the development authority, but for this issue, the panel has hired King & Spalding.

Underwood said the financing model for the project is nothing like what was originally proposed.

Almquist Hansen, based in Kennesaw, came to Forsyth County last spring with a proposal for a nearly $4 million U.S. Housing and Urban Development Section 108 loan to help fund construction of Towne Club at Windermere.

The then $35 million project qualified for that type of HUD loan because it would reportedly have created jobs for low-to moderate-income workers.

The developer withdrew its request to the county in December, after commissioners voted not to hold the next required public hearing, indefinitely stalling the process.

Underwood said the project’s concept has changed some to reduce costs, but the total estimate has risen due to required equity holdings.

“It’s all private dollars, and there’s no HUD or state backing of the funds,” he said. “It’s simply a loan from the lender BB&T Capital Markets.

“It goes through the development authority process for the purpose of allowing the revenue from the bonds from being tax-exempt.”

Eric Floyd, the municipal adviser representing the borrower, said he works with the nonprofit, Improved Living Foundation, which was “interested in getting involved in this sector.”

The foundation, for liability reasons, is the sole member of limited liability company, which is applying for the development authority transaction, Floyd said.

“These are conduit bond issues, i.e. the development authority is issuing bonds on behalf of the borrower, which in this case is Improved Living Foundation’s LLC,” he said. “They are solely responsible for this deal. This deal rises and falls on the merits of the revenues generated from the project.”

Because of that, Floyd said the county’s finances would not be affected “one iota.”

“We feel like this is going to be a deal that is going to work extremely well,” he said. “Not only for the people who put it together, but for the county because it’s going to provide hundreds of good-paying jobs for Forsyth County and it’s going to be on the tax roll.”