The University Mound Ladies Home, one of San Francisco's oldest elderly care facilities, will be sold at the end of the month to a private school unless supporters can figure out a way to keep the money-losing facility open.
On June 30 the home's board signed a contract to sell the 95,000-square-foot hilltop property at 350 University St. to the Alta Vista School, an independent elementary school located a few blocks away on Somerset Street in the Portola district. The sale is scheduled to close July 31.
While about 50 residents have moved out in anticipation of the home's closure, the sale would displace 27 remaining residents who have hung on in hopes that the 130-year-old home for elderly women of modest means could be saved.
The sale will allow the nonprofit home to pay off its obligations, which include $2.1 million in loans, as well as pension obligations due to the SEIU United Healthcare Workers West union. Another $500,000 of the sale proceeds will go toward helping current residents relocate to new homes, according to Adam Alberti, a spokesman for the University Mound Ladies Home.
The sales price was not disclosed.
After announcing on May 8 that the home would close on July 10, the University Mound Ladies Home solicited bids from prospective buyers. The board received nine bids, including some from both nonprofit and for-profit elderly care facility operators.
None of the groups proposing to continue operation of the facility could "comply with the desires" of the board, Alberti said. "Either they wanted to significantly increase the number of beds, which was not viable, or they didn't have the financial ability. Others wanted to operate on a for-profit model, which is not in keeping with the mission."
Endowment plan Alberti said the board decided the best way to continue with its mission was to create an endowment and be a "grant giver rather than a brick-and-mortar caregiver."
University Mound's financial troubles date back to 2007, when the board approached then-Mayor Gavin Newsom for assistance. The city dipped into its general fund to pay for beds for a while, but that action was meant as a Band-Aid rather than a long-term solution.
Lani Kent, senior health adviser to Mayor Ed Lee, said the city encouraged elderly care providers to submit proposals to acquire the property. Several of those organizations came through with proposals that would have renovated the antiquated building while keeping the current residents in place.
City officials 'disappointed' She said the Lee administration was "disappointed" with the closing of the home.
"We have been busting our tail to do what we can to keep the facility open," Kent said. "The board turned down proposals that would have kept those beds intact. ... At this point, our commitment is to make sure every resident is cared for in the way they have been receiving care at no additional cost."
Supervisor David Campos is holding a hearing Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee on the issue.
One of the groups that bid on the property, the for-profit organization AgeSong, has sued the University Mount board, arguing that it had a right of first refusal to buy the property. Alberti disputed that claim, but said AgeSong has been given an opportunity to match Alta Vista's bid.
Looking for alternatives Meanwhile, the families of remaining residents are fighting eviction while simultaneously seeking alternatives. Sandra Parker, who moved her mother, Alice, into the home two years ago, said she has looked at four places and liked none of them.
"One of them was stinky, and the other had no community or socialization - everyone stayed in their room," she said. "My bottom line is I need to find a place that is as nice as University Mound."
J.K. Dineen Wednesday, July 9, 2014