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Former Johnson City Memorial Hospital transforming to senior living center

Madison Mathews • Mar 22, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Renovations are under way at the site of Johnson City’s first community hospital as it transforms into a new multimillion-dollar senior living apartment complex.

The former Johnson City Memorial Hospital and home of Asbury Place will reopen its doors in June as The Lexington Senior Living, a 73-unit independent senior living facility complete with a restaurant, wine bar, coffee shop, Internet cafe, movie theater, game room, ice cream parlor, chapel and an expansive courtyard.

The enormous building, which sits along Boone, West Fairview and North Roan streets, has been vacant since Asbury Place closed a section of apartments in 2009.

The Lexington will be operated by The Jennings Group, a senior housing management company based in Alpharetta, Ga. The company operates 16 different properties across the country.

A property of this size and type with the additional amenities is the first of its kind under the Jennings Group, and it’s the company’s first property in Tennessee, according to the Lexington’s executive director, Jake Rightmyer.

“I think Johnson City is coming into a great time right now with everything that’s going on, especially with the parks and the renovation. That is very exciting for us, as a management company, to be a part of that,” he said.

Renovations to the 153,000-square-foot property have been taking place since it was purchased in late 2012.

In addition to the entertainment areas, the old hospital rooms have been converted into one-bedroom, two-bedroom and studio apartments.

“When the Lexington corporation came in, they decided to make it pretty much unrecognizable from the inside. Walls have been torn down. There’s nothing that would make you think it was a hospital,” Rightmyer said. “You won’t recognize it as either the hospital or the Asbury Center when it’s all said and done.”

The Caring Corp., a licensed service agency, will also operate in The Lexington, providing care and assistance to residents.

Once the complex is completed, the Lexington should bring 50-60 new jobs to Johnson City.

Given the amount of development that is taking place in downtown Johnson City, Rightmyer said The Jennings Group is excited to be another part of revitalization in the downtown area.

“We would love to be a kind of community hub with everything that’s going on. We want to fit right into that growth,” Rightmyer said. “I think it’s perfect timing, because we’re growing right alongside Johnson City.”

Washington County Economic Development Council interim CEO Mitch Miller said The Lexington’s arrival in downtown is another example of private investors banking on future growth and development in the downtown area.

“It’s a testament that private investment is coming into downtown, and a lot of it really stems from what the city is doing to really invest in downtown. You see the streetscapes, Founder’s Park, the Millennium Trail that they invested in a few years back. Those pieces are really starting to pay off. I applaud the city on that end, because I think it’s only going to help with our efforts.”

For more information on The Lexington, visit www.thelexingtonseniorliving.com.

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