Jay group to open The Summit
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
After months of often strained negotiations, a Jay, Fla. group — owners of two assisted living facilities in that state — has finally extended its footprint into Alabama.
A six-member group — two family-practice physicians, a church pastor, an optometrist, a certified public accountant and an auctioneer — closed last week on a deal to purchase the building and property on McRae Street, where Country Place Senior Living operated for less than three years before closing its doors on May 29.
Jack Floyd, one of the managing partners, said the company, Long Term Care of Atmore LLC, will do business here as The Summit.
“We’re excited to be in Atmore,” Floyd said during a November 5 interview. “We could have gone to any place in Alabama we wanted to begin our Alabama senior living venture, but we chose Atmore. The opportunity was here, and we seized that opportunity.”
He noted that plans to build a new hospital near Interstate 65 wouldn’t affect the Atmore facility, at least not for quite a while.
“In our mind, [this] location is perfect,” he said. “It will be a long time before the medical community leaves this vicinity. The Summit won’t be right up in the armpit of a hospital, like a lot of facilities are, but it’s still close enough, and most of the doctors have offices nearby.”
Ann Gordon, owner of Atmore Realty, brokered the deal. She said the negotiations reached the frustration point a few times, but finally an agreement was hammered out.
“We had been working on this for several months, and it was difficult at times,” Gordon said. “We had to negotiate long and hard, and we did. But you can’t get mad; you’ve got to keep going. We never gave up, and now we have a great opportunity for Atmore.”
The Summit features large, spacious rooms with amenities geared toward the resident’s comfort and care, including bathroom doors that open both ways. Plans are to implement memory care (special residency for individuals with advanced dementia) and respite care (temporary residency), depending upon the wants and needs of the community.
“We will go the direction the community leads us,” Floyd promised. “If the community of Atmore, the referral services here and the physician pool suggests (a particular program of care), we’re going to do it.”
The local realtor said she and the Florida partners initially offered to purchase the facility in turn-key fashion, but the previous owners, Texas-based Country Place Homes, which also has a facility in Brewton, rejected the offer out of hand.
“A couple of days after the (closing) was announced, we had tried to enter into a measuring agreement with them so that the residents wouldn’t have to move,” Gordon recalled. “They were not agreeable to that at all, and they moved everybody out. We started negotiating with them in April, so it’s been rolling ever since.”
Floyd said he understands the reason behind CPH’s refusal to accept such a deal.
“They didn’t have a healthy census here nor in Brewton,” he said. “What they wanted to do is close this one and encourage the residents here to go to Brewton so it would essentially double their census there. Then they wanted to put that one on the market as full and sell it. But not one of the residents chose to go to Brewton.”
The new ownership group currently also owns and operates The Terrace at Ivy Acres, a 70-bed facility in Jay, and Watermark, which has 110 beds, in downtown Gulf Breeze. The LTCA partner said the group has the experience and the know-how to make the new facility, which is licensed for 28 beds, a success for the investors, the staff and the residents and their families.
“We are steeped in knowledge and history, having been in the business since 2010,” he said.
Long Term Care of Atmore is awaiting the granting of its Alabama license, which could come within 30 days, half the time it usually takes. The fact that the building has been used for nothing but an assisted living facility in the past will help speed up the process.
“We may be able to do it in 30 days, but we’re not hanging our hats on that, especially with the holidays coming up,” Floyd said. “We’re already working on it and we hope to be able to start taking residents in January.”
He said prospective residents or their family members could call ahead and have someone meet them for a tour of, and to answer questions about, the new facility.
“I can come over with a day’s notice,” he said. “But it won’t be very long — I would say within 30 days or so — that we’ll have somebody here all the time.”
Gordon said she has agreed to help with the process.
“They can call Atmore Realty [251-368-6100] and they can come by there and pick up a packet,” she said. “Going into the holidays, people will be with their families and they’ll be talking about (the new assisted living establishment). We still have a lot to do, but I’m really excited about it.”