North Side replacement: Mountain States, Signature Health leaders break ground on assisted living center

Zach Vance • Jul 19, 2017 at 6:01 PM

The cycle of economic life was evident Wednesday on Princeton Road.

Where one institution falters, another takes its place, and for years, the once-bustling North Side Hospital served thousands of patients at 401 Princeton Road before it shut down in July 2010. The hospital’s empty shell remained intact for four additional years before it was finally demolished, leveling the area for a new project to flourish in its place. 

Now that something new has blossomed.

On Wednesday morning, Mountain States Health Alliance and Signature Healthcare officials, joined by state and local leaders, officially broke ground on Princeton Transitional Care and Assisted Living Facility, a brand-new, jointly-operated $13.5 million facility. 

“We’re building a brand-new transitional care facility for people who are post-acute, people being discharged from the hospital who need a higher level of services,” Mountain States CEO Alan Levine said. 

“It’s going to be a state-of-the-art (facility). We’re partnering with the nation’s leading entity who runs and operates these facilities so we’re excited about the partnership.”

In addition to the post-acute care and transitional living quarters, the facility will house 60 assisted-living apartments for senior citizens seeking independence but still needing assistance with daily routines. 

“Then, eventually we’ll have independent living apartments. So we’ll have the full continuum (of care) on this piece of property,” Levine said. “This piece of property is being transformed into a senior living community that will provide for all of the needs of our senior population.” 

Discussions between Mountain States and Signature Health officials began in 2012, Levine said. 

“We took some time to search for a partner and I’d say it took about a year to negotiate the deal and then putting all the pieces together,” Levine said.

“It was a pretty complex transaction with the old hospital being here, and having to remove (it).”

The project was officially disclosed in April 2014, when the two health care companies signed a letter of intent to begin demolishing the old North Side building.

Then about two years later, the partners filed a certificate of need application with the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency and earned approval to build the multimillion dollar nursing home.

The single-floor facility will replace the 34-bed service area located inside Johnson City Medical Center, as well as the inactive 13-bed Franklin Transitional Care facility at 400 N. State of Franklin Road. 

Once complete, the new Princeton will house 47 skilled-nursing beds and 60 assisted-living beds. A coffee shop, a salon, a library and a fitness area will be among the variety of amenities offered to guests. 

Since Mountain States is a nonprofit organization and Signature Healthcare is investor owned, the two parties formed a new entity to operate and manage the facility, called LP Johnson City LLC. 

Levine said Mountain States will have a 35 percent stake in the intiatiive, leaving Signature Healthcare with a 65 percent stake in the assisted living center. 

The assisted living center is expected to create about 100 new jobs in the region.

Signature also operates long-term care facilities in Elizabethton, Mountain City and Greeneville.

Officials hope Princeton will be open by the fall 2018.  

Email Zach Vance at [email protected] Follow Zach Vance on Twitter at @ZachVanceJCP. Like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/ZachVanceJCP.

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