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Greenbrier announced that Samaritan Housing Foundation, Inc. has obtained financing and construction has begun on SearStone located in Cary, North Carolina. Herbert J. Sims & Co. successfully placed $117,450,000 of non-rated tax-exempt bonds to fund the project. SearStone is a lifecare CCRC that will consist of 169 independent living apartment and estate homes, as well as eight assisted living suites and 16 skilled nursing suites.
SearStone is part of an overall mixed-use master planned development that is the vision of Bill Sears of Sears Farm, LLC who endeavored to transform the Sears family farm into an innovative retirement community with surrounding complementary retail, hotel and other amenities.
Greenbrier was engaged in 2009 to restructure SearStone to better align with the new market and financial realities that exist today. Greenbrier worked with Samaritan, Sims and Sears Farm to reduce the size of the initial phase from approximately 205 independent living units to 169 and to refine the unit mix to provide a larger ratio of apartments to estate homes. Initially Greenbrier provided only development services, but in January of 2010 was engaged to oversee the marketing for SearStone. Part of the strategic recommendations included bringing in more local credibility.
As a result, Retirement Living Associates ("RLA") of Raleigh, NC was engaged as the management company which has managed Springmoor, another Raleigh based CCRC, successfully for 27 years. Since that point, Greenbrier and the team took the project, which had achieved approximately 50% pre-sales during a more than three-year pre-sale period, to more than 80% pre-sales.
This success came despite a five-month period where pre-sales were halted due to new regulatory filings. Greenbrier credits much of the marketing success to an outstanding local sales team and marketing director, the local credibility of RLA, Sears Farm and the Board, and to the growing local senior demographics.
The SearStone development and finance team overcame tremendous challenges to complete the financing. The financing could not have been completed without the dedication and tenacity exhibited by Bill Sears, Stan Brading (President of Samaritan), Sims and the entire finance and development team. SearStone is an exciting development which is poised to enhance the lives of Cary's seniors for many generations.