Spokane Journal of Business

Bellevue company takes over Beehive Homes facilities in North Idaho

Action at Beehive Homes occurs as retirement home operator revisits Wandermere plan

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Bellevue company takes over Beehive Homes facilities in North Idaho

Regency Pacific Management LLC, a Bellevue, Wash.-based retirement-community operator, has taken over operations at two North Idaho complexes developed and formerly run by Beehive of North Idaho Inc., says the court-appointed receiver that plans to sell the facilities in Coeur d'Alene and Pinehurst.

Though no longer operating in Idaho, Gary Ghramm, president of Beehive of North Idaho and a 35-year veteran of the retirement-housing industry, might already have plans to reenter the senior-living business, in Spokane County.

In a Sept. 27 interview, Ghramm said he's looking for private investors for a big senior-living complex he's planning in the Wandermere area north of Spokane. During that interview, on the eve of the receiver's action, Ghramm didn't speak of that operational change, and he couldn't be reached for comment after the Sept. 28 changeover occurred.

The receiver, Pivotal Solutions Inc., of Renton, Wash., has entered an agreement with Regency Pacific to operate the 62-unit former Bee Hive Homes of Coeur d'Alene, at 2100 E. Sherman, and the 30-unit Bee Hive Homes of Pinehurst, about 32 miles east of Coeur d'Alene, says Richard Hooper, Pivotal's president.

Regency Pacific is operating in North Idaho as Regency Coeur d'Alene LLC, which is licensed for 52 beds at the Coeur d'Alene facility and 23 beds at the Pinehurst facility, says Niki Forbing-Orr, a Boise-based spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the state agency that issues such licenses.

"Beehive Homes of North Idaho is no longer involved in the operations," Hooper says.

Together, the Coeur d'Alene and Pinehurst facilities employ up to 90 people. Regency Pacific has made some personnel changes, but the total number of employees at the facilities remains the same as before the operational change, Hooper says.

Regency Pacific declines to comment about the North Idaho action.

The turnover in operations has been in the works since July as part of a foreclosure proceeding brought by Spokane-based Sterling Bank, and Ghramm had consented to the action, Hooper says.

"We worked with state regulators and Mr. Ghramm to facilitate the change," he says.

Hooper says Regency Pacific will continue to operate the facilities with the same number of employees and will work to increase the number of licensed beds.

"Once the number of residents is increased and stabilized, the properties will be for sale," he says.

Earlier this year, the Idaho state Department of Health and Welfare banned Beehive of North Idaho from accepting new residents at the Coeur d'Alene facility for two months and fined the operator $12,800, according to state records.

Health and Welfare had sanctioned the facility on March 15 for failing to submit to the department a timely report of an allegation of inappropriate contact between an employee and a resident, and for retaining a resident for whom the operators couldn't provide adequate care, agency records show. The department's Bureau of Facility Standards also cited the Coeur d'Alene facility for a number of minor, but chronic deficiencies.

Health and Welfare accepted Beehive of North Idaho's correction plan and lifted the ban on May 14, records show.

Ghramm had been looking to establish operations in Washington long before his Idaho woes arose.

In the interview late last month, he said he's ready to revive plans for a large senior living complex in the Wandermere area that have languished for about two years as he's worked to acquire a vital chunk of land in the heart of the planned development site.

The envisioned development would be located on land between U.S. 395 and Wandermere Road, next to the Gleneden neighborhood, he says.

"The missing piece of property is acquired, and we're moving ahead and looking for investors," Ghramm said. The recently acquired 5-acre parcel lies in the center of a 13-acre parcel a related company, Cousin Gary LLC, acquired in 2005.

"We couldn't do what we want to do without it," Ghramm said.

The Wandermere project would be developed in stages, but eventually would be much larger than the facilities Beehive of North Idaho operated in Coeur d'Alene and Pinehurst, he said. The Coeur d'Alene facility is located on 1.3 acres of land.

"There, it would be a lot bigger," Ghramm said of the Wandermere plans.

Ghramm declined to estimate the project start date, since he was continuing to seek funding for it.

The facilities Beehive developed in Coeur d'Alene and Pinehurst were bank financed.

"This is a whole different ball game," he said of efforts to attract private investors. "We're trying to move forward as fast as we can."

Beehive acted as its own contractor in developing the Coeur d'Alene and Pinehurst facilities. Ghramm said, however, that he hasn't decided whether to go that route on the Wandermere project.

Miller Stauffer Architects PA, of Coeur d'Alene, designed Beehive's Coeur d'Alene and Pinehurst facilities, and likely would be first choice to design the Wandermere project, he said, adding, "We haven't talked to them about it lately."

Ghramm said he expects high demand for assisted-living facilities because development in that sector has been slowed by the economic downturn, while the population continues to age.

"By 2017, a large number of baby boomers potentially will need assisted-living care," he said. "There's not a lot of preparation being made for that."

Beehive Homes of North Idaho is a franchise of a chain of assisted-living centers. The franchisor, Bee Hive Homes Inc., of Boise, has more than 100 operations in 12 states, its website says.

Regency Pacific operates 28 facilities in five states, including Regency at Northpointe, a 120-bed skilled-nursing facility at 1224 E. Westview Court, in Spokane, and Brighton Court Assisted Living, a 48-unit facility at 2308 N. Vercler, in Spokane Valley.

Mike McLean
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Reporter Mike McLean covers real estate and construction at the Journal of Business. A multipurpose fisherman and vintage record album aficionado, Mike has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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