MIDDLEBURY — Bullrock Corp. has signed an agreement to sell its senior care-related holdings — including the Lodge at Otter Creek retirement community in Middlebury — in what is being called one of the largest private transactions in the state’s history.
Bullrock CEO Gregg Beldock confirmed the deal to the Addison Independent on Tuesday evening. He identified the buyer as Norwood, Mass.-based LCB Senior Living LLC, which will acquire the The Lodge at Otter Creek, The Lodge at Shelburne Bay, The Lodge at Quarry Hill (under construction), and a home health care business called Enhanced Services Program. Beldock declined to state the exact value of the transaction, but placed it in the “nine figures.”
The Lodge at Otter Creek’s primary lodge building and 34 acres are currently assessed by the town of Middlebury at $15,327,000, according to Middlebury Town Treasurer Jackie Sullivan.
An official closing on the deal is slated for later this month. Bullrock has already informed its staff and senior care residents of the sale earlier this week. Residents of The Lodge at Otter Creek were given a two-page handout briefly describing LCB’s history and credentials.
Beldock expects a seamless transition to the new ownership, which he said will retain the current 400-person workforce of the four businesses.
“They don’t seem to be changing much,” Beldock said of LCB’s stated plans.
Bullrock will complete The Lodge at Quarry Hill for LCB.
Beldock said he had not been looking to sell Bullrock’s senior care assets; LCB simply made an offer that was too good to refuse.
“Over the course of the past decade, people come to you to buy the business — the assisted living business is hot, with cap rates and interest rates being low; it has become a darling of Wall Street,” Beldock said. “Over the past year, there has been a bidding war for my businesses — at least that portion of my businesses.”
Vermont is one of the grayest states in the union, which in turn has boosted demand for elder care services.
LCB Senior Living LLC is a developer/operator and third-party manager of senior housing communities in New England. Its current listed holdings include Traditions of Dedham (Dedham Mass.), Traditions of Wayland (Mass.), the Residence at Pearl Street (Reading, Mass.) and the Residence at Cedar Dell (Dartmouth, Mass.), all providing independent, assisted living and memory care services. The company also has in its portfolio The Arbors of Bedford (N.H.), providing Alzheimer’s and memory care; and the Lighthouse at Lincoln (R.I.), providing memory care assisted living.
The LCB website currently lists six additional facilities under a “coming soon” category. They are to be located in Watertown, Mass.; Ipswich, Mass.; South Windsor, Conn.; Avon, Conn.; Easton, Mass.; and Ashland, Mass.
An “LCB News” section of the business’s website did not yet mention acquisition of the Bullrock senior care holdings as of Wednesday morning. The website did confirm the company’s acquisition of the properties it has renamed The Residence at Cedar Dell in Dartmouth, Mass., and The Residence at Pearl Street in Reading, Mass.
LCB has been involved in the senior living industry since 1994. It is one of the fastest-growing senior housing companies in the region.
“Whether it be developing and managing beautiful new residences, or managing yours, LCB prides itself in creating communities where residents can enjoy continued comfort, security and dignity as their individual physical and cognitive needs change,” reads the company’s credo.
“The (LCB) team has extensive turnaround experience for troubled or under-performing properties, and over the years has taken over management of several locations that were quickly converted to successful and profitable facilities.”
While gratified by the landmark sale, Beldock has mixed feeling about shedding a large portion of his business that was built from scratch.
“It’s bittersweet,” Beldock said of the sale. “It’s a business we started from scratch. Of all the developments I’ve done, it’s the one that has the most heart and soul from my wife and I, because it involved so many people — 400 employees, 500 residents. It’s hard to see it go. But the business has gotten big and it needs a larger operator, quite frankly… It’s a health care operation right now. I wish them the best of luck.
“My wife and I have been the shepherds, and now it’s time to hand someone else the hook, I suppose.”
Beldock is a member of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s Business Advisory Council on Health Care. He said the state’s ongoing health care reform efforts played no role in his decision to sell his senior care holdings.
“I think (health care reform) is more of a national issue and I don’t think it affects Vermont any more than if we were in Illinois or Michigan,” Beldock said. “It’s a sign of the times. We are going to create a more efficient — and in Vermont a better — health care system centered around our major health centers. We’ve all got to contribute to that effort.”
Beldock has no immediate plans to retire. He said Bullrock will continue to focus on its other development initiatives, including solar projects.
Reporter John Flowers is at email@example.com.