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SPH Pulls Out of Senior Facility Deal Amid Pandemic Fears

What a difference a month makes in the pandemic era.

In late February, Singapore Press Holdings announced a $233.9M purchase of six senior housing properties in Canada from Seattle’s Columbia Pacific Advisors.

Amid pandemic fears, SPH has cancelled a deal to purchase six Canadian senior living properties, including five in Ontario. In Toronto, six long-term facilities have reported coronavirus cases, including one death.

The properties, five of which are located in Ontario, comprised 717 suites, with the average occupancy of the portfolio said to exceed 90% for the last three years.

The properties included Heritage Meadows Gracious Retirement Living in Cambridge, the Bradley Gracious Retirement Living in Kanata, Guelph Lake Commons in Guelph, Woodstock’s Cedarview Gracious Living Retirement Living and Rosewood Estates in Cobourg.

Completion of the acquisition was set for 90 days, subject to carrying out due diligence to “confirm the deal valuation taking into account asset valuation,” SPH said in announcing the agreement.

Fast-forward to March and a lifetime of bad news with the coronavirus striking senior homes particularly hard. 

SPH announced it and CPA had “mutually agreed not to proceed with the Acquisition and to terminate the Agreement as a matter of prudence in the light of global market instabilities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” in a short news release several days ago.

None of the properties  involved in the deal have been identified in the media as having coronavirus cases. A uniform March 25 website update at all six facilities stated that ”we do not have any known cases of residents or staff diagnosed with COVID-19.”

However, that was last week. As of now, at least 40 deaths of residents in Ontario nursing and retirement homes have been linked to COVID-19, with 11 deaths reported on Wednesday alone, including six in Toronto.

Still, the current atmosphere likely hasn't dampened an interest in senior housing in the GTA in the near future. Senior housing provider Revera recently purchased nine neighbouring properties near Bayview and Eglinton in a deal involving Lennard Commercial Realty.