Basalt’s WIN Health Institute in foreclosure
ASPEN – At the mark of its one-year anniversary, the Basalt-based WIN Health Institute has fallen victim to the credit crunch and has gone into foreclosure.
But the owners, Dee and Dr. Dave Jensen, are still open for business even though the multimillion-dollar facility is in jeopardy of being seized. They’re hoping they can rally investors to help them pay off the debt and continue on with their mission of providing integrated, preventive health care in the midvalley.
The $10 million, 33,000-square-foot facility went into foreclosure in May, and the Jensens have until August to pay their construction note or the building will be sold.
“We’re trying to survive the perfect storm,” Jensen said, adding a delayed opening, the lack of permanent financing and $2 million in cost overruns were contributing factors for the troubled start-up.
Jensen started the building process in 2005 and early 2006, with a scheduled opening in December 2007. But delays pushed the opening back six months, and Jensen had to tap into his personal cash reserves.
“That was the crippler,” he said of what he thought was a solid business plan. “The perfect plan didn’t match the perfect storm.
“We didn’t raise enough money in the beginning to survive any storm.”
By the time the institute opened in June 2008, the national credit crunch was in full swing, and Jensen could not get a bank loan. He said he was forced to keep paying the construction loan, which was at a significantly higher percentage rate – a nearly $18,000-a-month difference.
“It was slowly drowning us,” Jensen said, adding that once he realized how bad it was early this year, he brought in financial consultants to help sort out the mess. They suggested Jensen allow the building to go into foreclosure and then regroup with an infusion of cash.
The Jensens’ tale is similar to thousands of other developers and entrepreneurs who have had to abandon their projects as a result of the global recession.
But they hope that their appeal to locals to continue patronizing the integrated health center and their goal of raising about $2 million through small investors will keep the dream alive.
“We need angel investors,” Jensen said. “It would be a feel-good investment.”
To make matters worse, insurance companies, which had been paying 70 cents on the dollar, are now paying 20 or 30 cents on the dollar for medical services the institute provides.
Jensen said he and Dee made the mistake of trying to finance the project almost entirely by themselves. They wanted to keep a large investor out of the equation so they could keep their vision and integrity intact.
There are several different companies under the umbrella organization of the WIN Health Institute. Dozens of business owners and medical practitioners are leasing space in the facility at $30 a square foot. Trainers, instructors and specialists have invested in different areas of the institute’s vast offerings of modern and alternative medicine.
The building is 100 percent leased, and Jensen said the various businesses in the building have experienced growth over the last year. The hope is that they will remain intact if the building can be paid off.
“Our businesses are surviving but not necessarily thriving,” he said, adding the gym and spa businesses have fallen off as a result of people being more frugal with their discretionary money.
To attract more customers, the WIN is offering $40 a month gym memberships and $120 for a massage and chiropractic treatment. Free day passes for the gym, steam and sauna facilities also are being offered.
Jensen, a chiropractor, has operated wellness centers in the valley for 15 years. His practices in Glenwood Springs and in the WIN Institute are flourishing.
The institute’s balanced approached to health care includes a 5,000-square-foot medi-spa that offers massage, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and skin care. The 5,000-square-foot gym emphasizes agility and proprioception (balance and space). The programming focuses on sports rehabilitation, from new injuries to full training. The gym has strength equipment, circuit training and cardio machines. It offers private and group fitness classes, with yoga, tai chi, aerobics and karate.
There’s gyrotonic and pilates machines, as well as physical therapy, personal training, posture analysis and a saltwater pool in which patients and other users can swim, run or bike against a current. Golfers can fix their swings and improve their game by using the facility’s digital golf course, which offers 250 courses from around the country.
Then there’s Win Medical, which is a separate entity on another wing of the institute that offers digital X-ray, an MRI machine, ultrasound, spinal decompression, thermography, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, non-radiation breast mammography, alternative dentistry, diagnostic testing, specialized blood testing, orthopedic surgeons, a neurometer and a host of other services.
The institute also has what’s called the Doctors Healthcare Cooperative, which includes a retail component offering vitamin supplements and herbal remedies.
The WIN also offers cooking classes at least twice a week with chefs preparing healthy food affordably. The meal is complimentary for anyone who signs up.
The child prodigy center within the facility is funded by the Jensens’ nonprofit, The WIN. Institute, and has been utilized by guests who can leave their kids there while receiving treatment.
There also are four short-term, two-bedroom luxury rental condos on the top floor of the institute with health-care concierge services that rent for about $250 a night.
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