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Team of Atlanta Attorneys Hammer Out Massive $147 Million Bond Funding Deal in Rough Economy

In the middle of a challenging economy in which important projects are stalled, postponed and even shelved, senior citizens who need housing and health care in the Cary, North Carolina Research Triangle area are getting their wishes answered today, with the announcement of the closing of $147 million in tax exempt resource bonds to fund the “SearStone” senior citizen community. The successful closing now green-lights the highly-anticipated senior complex and campus, which already has been 80% pre-sold and generated excitement among seniors in the area who need a quality continuing care retirement community.

Behind the scenes, Atlanta law firms Krevolin & Horst, LLC and Peck, Shaffer and Williams LLP were working overtime pursuing critical tax-exempt bond financing for the project, which has been a labor of love for “Samaritan Housing Foundation, Inc.,” an Atlanta-based non-profit corporation which will own the complex.

“This is terrific,” said Stan Brading, President of Samaritan Housing Foundation Inc. “As a non-profit organization, we have a mission and that mission is to bring help and service to seniors in a way that would truly make them part of a community, and truly enjoy their golden years. We’re delighted to be able to close this financing and start construction to deliver the project to the many residents who have put their faith in us by making deposits on units. Samaritan Housing and I think our residents at SearStone will be ever grateful to the team at Krevolin & Horst and their partners at Peck Shaffer, as well as the bond underwriters, Herbert J. Sims and Company, and BB&T Capital Markets, because of the incredible work they had to do, to make our dream a reality. All we have to say to everyone who made it happen is, Thank You!”

At Krevolin & Horst, a business law firm based in Atlanta, partner Gerry Balboni and associate Valerie Barton handled the corporate matters while partner Doug Krevolin and associate Hemant Piduru handled the real estate development and construction work. Stan Brading is also an “Of Counsel” attorney at Krevolin & Horst. Peck Shaffer, a specialty municipal bond law firm with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, served as bond and disclosure counsel in the transaction. That work was handled by partners David Williams and Jerry Peterson of Peck Shaffer’s Atlanta office. The firm of Robinson, Bradshaw of Charlotte served as the underwriter’s counsel and KL Gates of Raleigh served as Samaritan’s local counsel.

SearStone will consist of a campus containing 169 independent living units and residences, a health center with assisted living and nursing care, clubhouse that will serve meals, a 16-acre lake, walking trails, and a conservatory. Adjacent parcels of land are intended to be developed into an active adult residential community, a boutique hotel and retail space. SearStone will be a state-of-the-art facility designed to fulfill the needs of the elderly in the entire Wake County, North Carolina area which includes Research Triangle Park. Closing of the project took place on June 13, but the announcement of the final procurement of the funds was made today, which includes $117 million of first mortgage bonds, and $30 million of subordinated debt, comprising $147 million in total financing for this world-class project.

Krevolin & Horst’s Gerry Balboni said, “This is one of those roll-up-your-sleeves and make-it-happen projects. We were going to do whatever it took to make this happen for our client, a deserving non-profit organization. But the whole time we kept reminding ourselves that the ones that would ultimately benefit from this are the senior citizens that need a community environment and health care. We did not want to have to tell anyone that this very difficult economic environment would prevent the building of this retirement community. Our attitude was that we would work hard to find a way to make this dream happen. I am proud of our team and our good friends at Peck Shaffer, as well as the bond authority, because right now, this feels really good.”

The project had to overcome significant obstacles since it was begun by the developer, Bill Sears, in 2005, including a consistently rocky economy. But the legal team kept working and secured the Public Finance Authority, a national bond authority, to issue the bonds, which were sold by bond underwriter Herbert J. Sims & Co. The vast majority of bonds were purchased by high-yield bond funds which specialize in owning these types of bonds. The $147 million deal is believed to be one of the largest such transactions in the United States this year.

The land on which the project and surrounding facilities will be built has been owned by Bill Sears’ family for three generations. Mr. Sears says he is ecstatic to see the funding come through for the project. “This really is my family’s dream come true. My mother and I were both born in a farmhouse on this land, and she and my father will be the first residents to move into SearStone. Words really can’t adequately express my gratitude to the professionals and all the people who made this happen– Herbert J. Sims and Co., the bond underwriter, all the attorneys, the CPA’s, and the Board of Samaritan. This is a great, great day.”

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