EXPERT OPINION: A Conversation with Andrew Banoff

In this “Expert Opinion” interview, Andrew Banoff explains alternative ownership structures and the innovative option that will allow the Jewish Home for the Elderly to expand its facility and services in an area where land is limited and costly.

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Andrew Banoff is the President and CEO of the Jewish Home for the Elderly, a 360-bed skilled nursing facility and the second largest SNF in Connecticut. Mr. Banoff previously served as the Executive Vice President of St. Vincent’s Health Services, a 391-bed acute care teaching hospital in Bridgeport, CT. He has also been the President & CEO of Connecticut Health Enterprises, a managed care contracting and physician practice management company, Vice President of Stamford Health System, and Vice President of New York Downtown Hospital. Mr. Banoff is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, and a member of the board of directors of several organizations, including the Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS), Connecticut Association of Not-for-Profit Providers for the Aging (CANPFA), and Connecticut Alliance for Long Term Care (CALTC).
Contact Information:
Andrew H. Banoff, President and Chief Executive Officer
The Jewish Home for the Elderly
175 Jefferson Street
Fairfield, CT 06825

Read the interview transcript:
Senior Living Business Editor Jane Zarem interviews Andrew Banoff, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Home for the Elderly
Jane Zarem:
We’re talking with Andrew Banoff, President and CEO of the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, Connecticut. Andrew, the Jewish Home is looking to expand from a 360-bed skilled nursing facililty to a full continuum senior living facility. In order to accomplish that, you considered alternative ownership structures. Can you tell us why? 
Andrew Banoff:
Sure. The primary reason was that the cost and availability of land was so limited in Fairfield County that we needed to look at creative options with developers that wanted to partner with us.
Jane Zarem:
Can you briefly explain the three scenarios that you considered?
Andrew Banoff:
The traditional model would have been for the Home to purchase the land and then build a structure in which to operate a senior living facility. The second or other traditional option is to lease land, but then still have us build and own the facility.
The third scenario is where we would actually work with a developer who will not only continue to own the land, but own the improvements, own the actual facilities and then we would lease back both the land and the facilities from the developer.
Jane Zarem:
And which one did you choose and why?
Andrew Banoff:
The developer we’re working with, Bob Scinto, owns a piece of property that is perfect for our project. And this structure works not only for him as the owner, but for us because he’s able to achieve financing in an untraditional fashion for the senior living industry that made it both affordable but also brought the total cost of the project because he serves as the landowner, developer and builder in a way that’s advantageous for us. And that’s why we are working towards that creative financing model.
Jane Zarem:
Okay. And is the alternative ownership structure creating any unusual issues in terms of the marketing or financing?
Andrew Banoff:
In terms of marketing specifically at this point, there are no issues because the consumer’s really looking for the end product and how the project will work in terms of cost to them. It is an entrance fee model and we do not think that there are any issues on the marketing side.
The financing, which we are not yet at the completion of, is certainly going to create some challenges because Bob’s financiers, typical financiers, are not expert in senior living and we’re going to need to educate them on how the project will work.
Jane Zarem:
Have you set a timeline to break ground and for completion?
Andrew Banoff:
If everything stays on track, we hope to complete all of the marketing, predevelopment, regulatory and zoning work within the next two years. And then we’ve got an 18-to-24-month construction period. So two years to start and four years to opening, if everything goes well.
Jane Zarem:
Okay. Thank you and good luck.
Recorded October 23, 2007