Covenant sale: two groups interested

Covenant sale: two groups interested

Just five weeks before a court-ordered auction, two parties remain interested in buying The Covenant at South Hills. The questions now are price and financing.
Lifecare of the South Hills has bid $17 million for the bankrupt B’nai B’rith-sponsored senior living facility, but while the company put down a required 10 percent deposit for the facility, it has not yet secured financing for its entire bid.
Meanwhile, a second prospective buyer, Concordia Lutheran Ministries, claims to have cash on hand for a lower bid, but the court rejected Concordia’s request to bid less than $17 million.
Bankruptcy Judge Judith Fitzgerald set a deadline of Aug. 24 for any potential buyer of The Covenant to submit a bid and put down a 10 percent deposit.
Lifecare — an affiliate of West Virginia-based The Orchards of Foxcrest — has until Aug. 20 to prove to the Court it has secured the necessary financing to buy The Covenant. The company is optimistic it can find the money it needs in time, according to CEO Scott Fox.
“We’re still working on obtaining financing,” Fox said. “We’re just waiting for the property appraisals to come back. But it looks good.”
But Concordia believes Lifecare won’t get the $17 million it needs in time, opening the door to a lower bid, according to Keith Frndak, CEO of Concordia Lutheran Ministries.
“We’ve been looking at The Covenant for about three and a half years,” Frndak said. “We are a cash buyer, and we are poised to bid to purchase the property.”
Some members of the Jewish community have expressed concern that if Concordia buys The Covenant, the facility could lose its Jewish character.
“It’s obvious that Concordia is a Christian organization, but we are committed to respecting the Jewish residents that live there any way we can,” Frndak said.
Frndak said that although Concordia was “not currently working in partnership with any Jewish groups, if we are successful, we will open up that conversation.”
Because of the high cost, Concordia would not be able to maintain Covenant’s kosher kitchen, but it is looking at ways to purchase meals for those who are observing the dietary laws.
“We’ve looked at several options, and we’re committed to doing the best we can,” Frndak said.
Although a group of leaders from the Pittsburgh Jewish community has been monitoring the Covenant situation, there is still no word what, if anything, that group will do regarding its sale.
“The group continues to talk amongst itself,” said Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, who assembled the group. “That’s all I’m going to say. These are delicate business situations.”

(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at

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