A Dallas bankruptcy court today approved the debt restructuring of Linden Ponds, a ruling that company officials say resolves some of the Hingham retirement community's immediate financial difficulties and positions it for future growth.
Linden Ponds officials expect the court to close on the issue in September, the finale to an 18-month-long restructuring process that involved negotiations with banks and creditors.
The community had been struggling since the real estate market took a hit in 2009 during the second phase of construction at the campus. At that time, Linden’s management company, Erickson Retirement Communities LLC, filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. Linden was then bought by Erickson Living, which brought in additional capital and top-level management.
Still, the 988-unit Hingham campus labored to handle a debt meant for 1,725 units, and in mid-June, Linden made its own Chapter 11 filing.
According to a press release from Linden officials, the renewed plan not only resizes the community’s debt, but transfers real estate to Linden Ponds and provides options for future growth.
The plan also includes local tax and utility payments - the facility was late in paying approximately $1.7 million in property taxes and $175,000 in delinquent light bills, both of which were put on hold while the company filed for bankruptcy.
According to Ian Brown, the executive director of Linden Ponds, the restructuring is a foundation for future success.
“As we move ahead, Linden Ponds’ top priority remains residents’ interest and continuing to deliver the high-quality services and amenities that have made this full-service retirement community such a special place to live,” he said in a release.
The amenities and services available to residents were also not disrupted during the refilling, officials said, and residents’ rights to entrance fees and monthly fees remain unchanged.
“Linden Ponds is emerging well-positioned for long-term success,” said Mary Helen Lorenz, chairman of the Board of Directors of Linden Ponds, Inc.
The financial struggles have not halted the growth of the community in the interim.
Occupancy has continued to be above 90 percent, and it doesn’t appear as if things are slowing down. According to officials, Linden Ponds has continued selling apartments in the last few months, more than 126 to be exact.
“I love living at this wonderful community,” said former Resident Advisory Council Chairperson Barbara Ward. “[I] believe Linden Ponds has a bright future.”