Heitman and Signature Senior Lifestyle announce JV to develop and operate senior care communities (UK)

Heitman LLC, a global real estate investment management firm, together with Signature Senior Lifestyle Ltd, has announced the formation of a joint venture partnership to develop, own and operate senior care communities in London and the South East of the UK.

The project marks Heitman's first property investment in the UK. Signature currently operates care communities in Kent, Sheffield, and Leicester, with communities under construction in Surrey and Essex and several others in development in the South East.

The Heitman/Signature partnership has already acquired a site in Marlow, an affluent community in Buckinghamshire, and has several other sites under negotiation. The venture intends to develop three senior care homes with nursing, each offering highest quality services and accommodation in communities of between 75 to 95 purpose built units. There will also be dedicated areas for dementia care. Construction on the Marlow community is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2012.

"We are delighted to be in partnership with Signature to develop these premium senior care home communities," remarked Gordon Black, Senior Managing Director of Heitman's European private real estate equity group.

"As one of the more defensive real estate asset classes senior care communities are an appealing property sector with which Heitman is very familiar and in which we have successfully invested in the past. UK demographics suggest the sector is poised for impressive growth but key to our investment strategy is partnering with experienced operators.

"In Signature, whose management team has been active in the UK market successfully developing and managing over 30 facilities, we're fortunate to have found the ideal partner with which to pursue an investment in this attractive asset class."

Commenting on the new partnership, Thomas B. Newell, Chief Executive Officer of Signature, said: "We are delighted to have closed this new Partnership with Heitman, an experienced global property investor who is backing our growth plan for London and the South East.

"We are proud to serve our current residents and look forward to meeting the needs and exceeding the expectations of the seniors who will live in the new communities we will develop with Heitman as our partner."

Total projected development costs for the contemplated three projects are approximately £75 million (€87 million). Signature will serve as operating partner of the venture to develop, market and manage the new communities, including the provision of all resident services.

Source: Rubenstein

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