BLOWING ROCK — As Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and Liberty Senior Living hash out the full details of the future senior living center at Chestnut Ridge in Blowing Rock, the plans could include potential transfer of property, according to Liberty Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilson.

The potential for property purchase comes after the ARHS’s board of directors approved the partnership with Liberty Senior Living, a branch of the Wilmington-based Liberty Healthcare Management, in February, following a lengthy review process. ARHS has been seeking a partnership for a retirement center at Chestnut Ridge since the early 2010s.

“When ARHS sent us the initial request for proposal, they indicated that they were seeking a partner who would co-locate at Chestnut Ridge, serve in a complementary role to The Foley Center and operate synergistically,” Wilson said. “As both parties conducted their due diligence, we collectively determined that in order for the continuum of care to work seamlessly, Liberty should have financial interest in the Chestnut Ridge project — and the opportunity to purchase property for the development of a retirement community.”

ARHS Senior Vice President Rob Hudspeth directed property purchase questions to Liberty and declined to answer questions on the property purchase potential. Wilson declined to answer follow-up questions on whether the potential financial interests would include the Foley post-acute treatment center, which opened in 2016. Wilson previously indicated that there was a mutual non-disclosure agreement between the sides that prevented one side from speaking about future plans without the consent of the other.

Wilson said that Liberty will operate and manage the future Chestnut Ridge senior living center, but any further announcements about the project won’t take place until fall at the earliest, the same time Wilson said a market study by Liberty is scheduled to be completed. A market study could be used to determine the size and amenities of the facility.

All together, three different entities all operated by ARHS own the 67.815 acres that currently house the Foley Center, the Harriet and Charles Davant Jr. Medical Clinic and the Village Pharmacy, a division of Boone Drugs Inc.

According to Watauga County tax records, Watauga Medical Center Inc. purchased the 43.393-acre tract on top of Chestnut Ridge from the Lentz Family in March 2011 for $2,950,000. In October 2013, 10.02 acres of that 43.393-acre tract where the Foley Center now is located was transferred to Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock LLC, 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.

All three organizations have ARHS Chief Executive Officer Chuck Mantooth as a registered agent and are headquartered at 336 Deerfield Road, home of Watauga Medical Center, according to the N.C. Secretary of State’s office.

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