Mantooth and McNeills

Sandy McNeill, left, and Ronnie McNeill, center, principal owners of Liberty Senior Living, shake hands with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System President and CEO Chuck Mantooth, right, in June at the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge.

HIGH COUNTRY — Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, which includes Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville, has sold the 112-bed Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge skilled nursing and assisted living facility in Blowing Rock and a 10.002-acre parcel for just greater than $12 million to Wilmington-based Liberty Healthcare and its new Watauga-based companies, the company announced Oct. 3.

“The future of health care delivery, particularly in rural areas, will be about leveraging partnerships,” said ARHS President and CEO Chuck Mantooth in a statement. “Over the last year, as we worked with Liberty to plan the development of a senior living campus at Chestnut Ridge it became clear that the skilled nursing and assisted living services should be integrated within their care continuum. Liberty can now take the next steps forward to evaluate the nature of and develop the retirement community that we have been working toward for the last 10 years.”

The purchase worth $12,022,000 was finalized on Sept. 30, according to the deed.

The tax value of the property, according to the Watauga County Tax Office, was $16,806,100 as of Jan. 1.

The subsidiary of Liberty that owns the land is named Liberty Healthcare Properties of Watauga County. On Oct. 1, the property was leased to another subsidiary, Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Watauga County, LLC, at no cost. ARHS states that Liberty Commons will operate the Foley Center.

The sale comes after the partnership between ARHS and Liberty was formalized in February with the intent of establishing a retirement community along with the Foley Center in what Mantooth said in June would “operate together seamlessly as a full continuum of care.”

ARHS said it will continue to work collaboratively with the Foley Center to ensure access and quality of care.

“The Foley Center will continue to be an important facility to ARHS in terms of providing post-acute care services for our aging population,” Mantooth stated. “This change is part of a broader partnership agreement with Liberty to develop a senior living community on the entire 68-acre tract. Our contract has incentives which are intended to accelerate the study and development of a senior living community and we will be working with Liberty to help it proceed.”

Jeff Wilson, chief operating officer for Liberty, commented on the acquisition by saying, “We are extremely grateful to ARHS for working with us to help make Chestnut Ridge a high quality, comprehensive senior living community in the future.”

The 10.002 acres is part of the 67.185-acre land area that was all previously owned by ARHS subsidiary companies. The Foley Center parcel was part of a 43.393-acre tract that Watauga Medical Center Inc., a subsidiary of ARHS., purchased from the Lentz Family in March 2011 for $2.95 million.

The 10.002-acre tract was then transferred to Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock LLC, another ARHS subsidiary, at no cost.

In May 2012, a 24.402-acre tract of land adjoining U.S. 321, which currently includes the Chestnut Ridge Parkway, was purchased by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Inc. for $1.5 million.

For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, click to To learn more about Liberty Senior Living, click to

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