Seven Legacy Retirement Communities in foreclosure

Confusion for workers at retirement communities

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Watermark Retirement Communities, which runs a number of Legacy properties across the Rochester region, filed a notice this week with the New York State Department of Labor warning that 381 employee layoffs would be happening in March.

According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN), the company’s management contract has been terminated at Cranberry Landing in Irondequoit, Erie Station in Henrietta, Fairways in Victor, Grande’Vie and Willow Pond in Penfield, Park Crescent in Greece, and Parklands in Churchville. 

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Watermark Retirement Communities tells News10NBC:

 “Watermark values our Legacy senior living communities across Rochester, and is immensely proud of the success we have achieved as their operating management company since 2017. We realize that many owner groups—the entities who secure our services—are facing challenging economic environments nationwide, which can prompt property manager changes unrelated to manager performance. While Watermark will no longer manage day-to-day operations at seven Legacy communities (Cranberry Landing, Erie Station, Fairways, Grande’Vie, Park Crescent, Parklands, and Willow Pond), we are committed to a smooth transition to the new management team.”

It turns out, there is much more to the story. 

News10NBC has learned that the seven properties in question are in foreclosure proceedings. The lender asked the court to appoint a receiver to collect rent and handle expenses while the case is being worked out. The borrowers include a number of affiliates of Northstar Healthcare Income, Inc. and according to the paperwork, have not paid mortgages on any of the impacted properties since June of 2023.

News10NBC reached out to Northstar HealthCare Income, Inc for a comment and has not heard back.

The receiver appointed by the court is Michael Flannigan. He tells News10NBC he will have to hire a management company to run the properties during the legal proceedings, but fully intends to transition all current employees to that new management company.

He’s hoping that process will be seamless, and says the WARN was legally required to execute it. 

Residents at a number of the impacted Legacy properties say staff held informational meetings on Friday afternoon after news broke of the foreclosure and possible job layoffs. 

During the foreclosure process, the receiver and new management company must offer similar care to residents to what they are receiving now.

The New York State Department of Health tells News10NBC that of the seven addresses in the WARN notice, two are Assisted Living Residences — being The Legacy at Cranberry Landing and Grand’Vie Senior Living and the Department does not have a closure plan from either facility. If the facility wishes to discontinue operations, the facility must notify the regional office of its intent to voluntarily surrender its operating certificate, then propose a closure plan to the Department that meets specific guidelines and regulatory requirements.

The Department reviews and approves the closure plan and only then may the facility discuss the closure publicly. If the operator secures another management entity, an application may be required to be submitted via a New York State Electronic Certificate of Need. No such application has been submitted to date.

The Executive Director of the Empire State Association of Assisted Living says in a statement:

“It’s my understanding that ownership of seven Legacy communities (Cranberry Landing, Erie Station, Fairways, Grande’Vie, Park Crescent, Parklands, and Willow Pond) is in the process of being transferred to the lender through a receivership proceeding. While filing a WARN notice could be because of an intention to close, it could just as likely be that a transition to a new managing operator is underway. The details provided in the WARN notice is the information available to me at this time.”