Alexian Brothers to build larger, $22 million nursing home on Signal Mountain

Alexian Brothers to build larger, $22 million nursing home on Signal Mountain

February 7th, 2012 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Alexian Village of Tennessee on Signal Mountain. Google Maps.

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ALEXIAN VILLAGE

Started in 1936

Located on Signal Mountain

Several options for long- and short-term stay, including a 114-bed nursing home facility

Nearly 600 clients overall

Source: Alexian Village of Tennessee

Alexian Village of Tennessee

A Signal Mountain facility for the elderly plans to begin construction later this year on a $22 million nursing home.

Alexian Brothers, a Catholic senior ministries organization, began seeking state approval for the self-funded project in January and hopes to finish construction by January 2014. The new construction will replace a nearly 30-year-old, 114-bed building.

At more than 100,000 square feet, the new nursing home will be nearly twice as large as the original, providing amenities such as private rooms for the same number of residents.

"It guarantees our home for the future," said Brother John Howard, the community director. "We're financially strong, we're well managed and we're moving ahead with projects like this."

The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency board will consider whether to grant a certificate of need for the nursing home at its March meeting.

The new construction is aimed at keeping Alexian in a strong position. When the original facility was built, shared rooms and institutional layouts were the norm. Today, seniors are demanding private rooms and facilities that feel more like a home.

Howard said the organization also hopes the modern site will attract top nurses and other staff.

"Alexian Brothers realized that the model we used to build the Health and Rehabilitation Center in the 1980s simply doesn't work for seniors today," Matt Fox, president and chief executive officer of the Tennessee community, said in an email Monday. "We know that we must continue to invest in our business plans to make sure that we are ready for future residents."

The center is 88 percent occupied and Alexian expects its occupancy to rise following the completion of the new facility. The senior care market is trending upward, according to projections in the organization's state application. In 2011, Alexian estimated an unmet demand of 587 nursing home beds. The company expects that to shoot up to 743 beds by 2015.

The organization will demolish a cluster of apartments to make space for its new center. When completed, residents in the existing building will move to the new site.

Alexian, which operates in Tennessee, Wisconsin and Missouri, also plans to spend about $10 million to renovate existing buildings, including the old Health and Rehabilitation Center and the interior of its historic inn. The renovations should add about five net new apartments.

Contact Carey O'Neil at coneil@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525. Follow him at twitter.com/careyoneil.