A Chicago-based asset management firm postponed its initial public offering (IPO) that would have made the health care facility firm a real estate investment trust (REIT). It's a shift from recent trends that have seen a number of investment firms join the REIT ranks in the second half of 2009, looking to raise capital and take advantage of the declining commercial real estate market. Aviv Asset Management was set to offer 16.6m shares of common stock it hoped to sell for $17 to $19 per share, according to a regulatory filing. Once the IPO was complete, the 25-year old company would have completed its process of converting to a REIT, and the company planned to change its name to Aviv REIT, trading under the symbol AVI. But that IPO has since been postponed, according to numerous press reports. The Chicago-based firm acquires and develops health care facilities, primarily skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The firm’s portfolio consisted of 172 properties with 16,866 licensed beds in 21 states leased to 32 operators. With the proceeds from the IPO, Aviv said it would pay down $145.6m in debt and redeem units of an operating partnership it has with Aviv’s co-founder and CEO Craig Bernfield and the estate of co-founder Zev Karkom, who passed away in September. Bank of America’s (BAC) Merrill Lynch unit, Citigroup (C) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are Aviv’s underwriters in the IPO. Representatives from Aviv did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Write to Austin Kilgore.