An upscale retirement community in Port Washington is struggling to meet its financial obligations, a year after it exited bankruptcy protection from its creditors for the second time in less than a decade, officials said.
The Harborside, formerly called the Amsterdam at Harborside, has missed at least one monthly payment on the Industrial Development Agency bonds that were issued last year as part of a financial restructuring, according to a letter obtained by Newsday under the Freedom of Information Act.
The nonprofit retirement community, opened in 2010, also didn’t meet its occupancy goal for the first nine months of this year, the Oct. 27 letter states.
The Harborside offers different levels of care as residents age, from independent- and assisted-living apartments to a nursing home and dementia units, at 300 East Overlook on Nassau County's Gold Coast.
WHAT TO KNOW
- The Harborside retirement community in Port Washington, which has filed for bankruptcy protection twice, continues to struggle financially, officials said.
- Trouble recruiting new residents has contributed to financial problems at the facility, once called the Amsterdam at Harborside.
- Entrance fees for the "life plan" community, which provides all levels of care from independent living to nursing home care, can run as high as $2.2 million.
Prospective residents often sell their homes to pay the entrance fee, which is between $527,250 and $2.2 million under the first type of sales contract offered, depending on the size of the living unit. That contract also calls for a monthly service fee of between $2,600 and $8,100 for meals and amenities, such as a heated indoor pool and underground parking. A portion of the entrance fee is refunded after the resident dies, according to documents filed last year in the bankruptcy case.
Since then, a second type of sales contract has been introduced with lower entrance and monthly service fees in return for limited nursing home services.
Eyeing 'strategic alternatives'
“The Harborside is currently engaged in discussions regarding its financial condition and occupancy levels” with the trustee for the bondholders, wrote Brooke Navarre, the Harborside’s president and CEO, in the letter obtained by Newsday.
She continued, “Additionally, the Harborside has engaged advisors to assist in its evaluation of various strategic alternatives.”
Navarre did not respond to requests for comment this week.
But a source familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity, said the Harborside is seeking a buyer or investors that can provide cash to cover operating costs while new residents are recruited.
Navarre addressed her letter to the Nassau IDA and UMB Bank in St. Louis, the bondholders’ trustee. The IDA issued bonds for the construction of the Harborside in 2007 and then additional bonds to help it emerge from bankruptcy twice.
“I, and I think the whole IDA board [last year], had great concerns about the future of [the Harborside],” said IDA chairman Richard Kessel. “I know they have made some major efforts to bring in new people, but from what I understand they aren’t being successful at this point. They have some serious financial problems,” he said last month.
IDA 'monitoring' status
Kessel and other IDA board members said they do not want to take an action that would harm the approximately 375 Harborside residents, many of whom are age 80 and over, and the workforce of about 200 people, including independent contractors and those provided by staffing agencies.
We're monitoring the situation," Kessel said on Tuesday.
The IDA vowed when it provided additional bonds to the retirement community that no further aid would be forthcoming. The IDA, in a 5-1 vote with one abstention, agreed in July 2021 to provide up to $169 million in taxable and tax-exempt bonds and up to $1.3 million off the mortgage recording tax.
The Harborside used the IDA help, together with $18 million from its then-sponsor the Amsterdam Nursing Home in Manhattan, to restructure $140 million in existing debt and to pay more than $20 million in entrance-fee refunds owed to 33 families of deceased residents. The two institutions are no longer affiliated.
In voting against last year's rescue plan, IDA member Timothy Williams, a banker, told Harborside executives, “I can’t see it in the numbers you have given us that we’re not going to be back here in seven years” with a third bankruptcy filing.
In 2014, the IDA issued new bonds and granted $550,000 in additional property-tax breaks to help the Harborside after its first bankruptcy filing.