The Jefferson Area Board for Aging, which operated Mountainside Senior Living for 17 years, has sold the assisted-living facility to English Meadows Senior Living Communities, an 11-year-old Christiansburg-based firm that now owns eight facilities across Virginia. The purchase also includes the building and four parcels it sits on, which are being bought separately.
JABA decided to sell because it struggled to maintain cash flow in the business, JABA Executive Director Marta Keene explained.
Mountainside opened a memory care unit in 2017 to offer another level of care, and it has maintained a high occupancy rate, but nonetheless Mountainside required loans from JABA. The sale allows JABA to build up a reserve to protect its other programs.
“It was important to JABA that Mountainside remains open and remains affordable, with room for auxiliary grant residents,” said Keene. Auxiliary grant residents are retirees who worked for local governments that now contribute to their care costs.
“[English Meadows] has committed to keeping our current residents and continuing to stay affordable. They bring extensive knowledge of the industry to the operational decisions.”
Co-founders of the company Mike Williams and Steve Ornsdorff have been in Crozet since the transfer on February 1 to manage the ownership transition. Williams’ mother and grandmother both ran assisted-living homes in Roanoke and he grew up in the business. The pair bought their first facility in Christiansburg 11 years ago and have been expanding since. In total, the company cares for about 500 residents and has about 400 employees.
“JABA did a lot of due diligence on us,” said Mike Lambertson, the firm’s vice president for finance. “It was a hard decision for them.
“We like what was done on the third floor [the memory care unit] and what we can do on other floors. We’re intending to keep the upgrading process going. This building has lots of potential.”
They began investigating the sale before Christmas, Orndorff said, and were happy to discover what’s going on in Crozet, being unfamiliar with the town previously.
“We’re always going to be affordable, but we want to be able to accommodate any resident. We’re normally about $1,000 to $3,000 a month under our competition.
“We do all-inclusive pricing. Everybody pays the same,” explained Lambertson. “No buy-in fees, for example. We target the middle of the market. We’re maintaining our low-income guidelines.”
Mountainside currently has 76 beds (some were lost to the creation of the memory unit) but is licensed for 107.
Williams said they will add staff as they grow. “We like low turnover,” he said. “We want everyone to stay.” Sharon Britt, the current director, will continue to manage the facility.
Other English Meadows facilities are in Abingdon, Bedford, Blacksburg, Christians-burg, Culpeper, Louisa, and Warrenton. Three of them have recently completed renovations. The Crozet facility has one of their largest patient populations.
“We take on buildings that are failing and we fix them up,” said Williams. “We enjoy it.”