AEW invests $103.8M in Balfour properties

LOUISVILLE – Boston-based real estate investment firm AEW Capital Management L.P. has purchased Balfour Senior Living’s facilities on Hecla Drive in Louisville for $103.8 million in a deal Balfour owner Michael Schonbrun characterized Wednesday as a recapitalization for his company.

Schonbrun and his wife, Susan Juroe, retain ownership of Balfour Senior Care LLC, which does business as Balfour Senior Living. The couple also retains an ownership stake in the real estate.

Schonbrun said the deal will not affect operations at the facilities, which sit on the east side of Colorado Highway 42 along Hecla. The campus includes The Lodge and The Residences independent-living facilities as well as the Balfour Retirement Community, an assisted-living, skilled-nursing and hospice-care center. The roughly 300 employees at the site will be retained and remain employees of Balfour. Schonbrun will continue to run Balfour as president and chief executive.

AEW purchased the real estate and a stake in the rents generated by the facilities. An AEW spokeswoman declined to comment on the deal.

Schonbrun said the deal bought out about 100 limited investors, some of whom had expressed interest in cashing out their stakes in recent years but didn’t have the power to force a sale.

“We really just sort of switched out from mom and pop investors to an institutional investor,” Schonbrun said. “The number one reason was we had investors who had their money tied up for as many as 17 years. We thought that was the right thing to do.”

Schonbrun said some of the proceeds from the deal will be used to pay off debt, while some will also be used to help Balfour expand its brand to the Midwest. Balfour’s headquarters will remain in Louisville.

“I’m planning to stay very involved in the business for some time to come,´ said Schonbrun, who lives in Niwot.

The partnership with AEW isn’t the first for Balfour. The two engaged in a similar deal in 2012 at Balfour’s Cherrywood Village memory care facility at 282 McCaslin Blvd. in Louisville.

Balfour and AEW also are partnering on Balfour at Riverfront Park, a 205-unit facility in downtown Denver slated to open in September that will include a mix of independent living, assisted living and memory care apartments. The Riverfront Park location will employ about 150.

The three Balfour facilities on Hecla Drive all opened gradually over the past 15 years. The 148-unit Balfour Retirement Community opened in 1999. The 103-unit Lodge, which also includes The Cottages at Balfour, opened in 2004. And the 87-unit Residences – which includes The Retreat at Balfour as well as Boulder Community Hospital’s Internal Medicine Associates at Balfour – opened in 2008.

Balfour purchased the Cherrywood Village location in the early 2000s.

Schonbrun, who declined to disclose Balfour’s revenue, said the company has remained a Colorado-only company to this point to keep from expanding too quickly.

“We wanted to move pretty slowly, do it right,” he said.