I know the past two years have been extremely challenging for all. Thank you to all of our friends, families, colleagues, and communities in which we live and work for your willingness to partner with us through the storm of the pandemic. During this holiday season, let us remember and pray for all the residents and their families who suffered due to Covid, not only at Givens Communities but throughout Western North Carolina, the state, and the entire country.
Though the past few years have been a challenge, I would like to provide a brief recap of some of the highlights of Givens accomplishments during this time:
Among other things, we complied with regulations, adjusted visitations, performed testing, and administered vaccinations all while carrying on the normal course of business. We sold apartments, coordinated move-ins, provided care to residents, maintained buildings and grounds, and many other things in the everyday operations of our Life Plan Community. Our team embodied the spirit to keep going and make the most of the situations at hand. So thank you.
We did not delay our development plans. We built new cottages at Highland Farms, occupied them, and have begun the next phases of our master plan. We completed the renovations of Oxford Commons for new amenity spaces and the first phase of our brand new apartments, Friendship Park, of which the first building is now fully occupied with the second building will open in early 2022.
We met our financial obligations despite the pandemic. We completed a financing of $48MM to fund our Highland Farms expansion and capital expenditures. This was done in record time, with no presale requirements and no guaranteed maximum-priced construction contract. Because of Givens’ strong financial performance versus the market, we were upgraded by Fitch, which is the leading provider of credit ratings for global capital markets, from BBB+ to A-. This demonstrates the organization’s strength.
Through the past year, we have also had changes to our team from promotions, to the addition of new team members, retirements and departures, and changes in team members’ families. Many have gone above and beyond the call of duty in lending a hand or assisting with task forces. I want to recognize and pay tribute to those team members who have risen to the occasion.
Givens experienced a major transition of leadership. I want to thank you all for the hospitality shown to me as I transitioned here to Givens. It was a big leap for me to move away from my home of 48 years and my employer for the past 21 years to pick up and move more than 750 miles to Western North Carolina this past summer. I am grateful for my wife, Allision; she is my strength and moral compass and always keeps me on track. Her unwavering support has made all the difference. Thanks to everyone’s kindness, graciousness, and patience, my leadership transition has been much smoother than I could ever imagine. I am grateful to you for welcoming me to the Givens and Western North Carolina region.
As we celebrate past accomplishments, it is also important to look forward to new horizons as we enter the new year. We have many initiatives on the horizon, making Givens a very exciting place to live and work. We are poised with much growth that we expect to see in 2022 and the years to come.
We are amid an exciting expansion at Highland Farms, with future phases planned.
As we finish Friendship Park at Givens Estates, we look to revisit their master plan and consider future development for the Health Center, Wood Assisted Living, Asbury Commons, and The Manor.
We also have many other exciting developments that will help Givens grow and enable us to serve many more individuals.
Stay tuned for more announcements around these exciting new ventures for Givens Communities.
I hope you all have a very blessed and merry Christmas with your friends and families. And be safe this holiday season.