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New River Assisted Living has agreed to purchase the site and 200 acres for $4.5 million.
The (Lynchburg) News & Advance
Katie Parker hugs her grandmother, BJ Parker, on the front porch at the Elks Home in Bedford, Va., on Tuesday. It was announced Tuesday that the retirement community and its approximately 200 acres have been sold to New River Assisted Living.
The (Lynchburg) News & Advance
Workers carefully set a light-studded star atop the roof of the Elks Home for the annual Christmas display in Bedford, Va., on Tuesday.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The Elks National Home, a Bedford staple with a century of history that each winter draws thousands of visitors to its dazzling Christmas display, is being sold.
Residents of the retirement community were informed Monday that the facility and its roughly 200 acres in the town of Bedford are under sale to New River Assisted Living and new owner Mike Williams, said Pam Mutter, the home’s executive director.
The announced sale price is $4.5 million and closing is expected on Dec. 31, she said. The annual Christmas lights display will continue and the roughly 100 residents and nearly 60 employees will remain, she said.
The most significant change is that management no longer will be under the umbrella of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks starting Jan. 1 .
The fraternal organization with membership across the country purchased a hotel on Ashland Avenue in 1902 for the home and built the facility, which was dedicated during World War I.
Williams, owner of English Meadows Senior Living Community in Christiansburg, said he wants to keep the rich tradition of the Elks alive while investing in improvements to the site.
He grew up in the assisted living business not far from Bedford in Roanoke County and a year ago began working with the Elks as a consultant.
“It’s just an incredible property,” Williams said. “It’s just got so much to offer. They already have a great staff there … we want to keep the tradition and everything that’s good about it.”
Mutter said while the change is sad because of the site’s history, keeping staff and the traditions, such as a theater on site, is reassuring.
“That is very positive for us,” she said.
Some residents are looking at the positives while others are not happy to see the Elks ownership fade away, she said. Staff is “pretty much in shock” and it will take a few days for everyone to absorb the change, she said.
Almeta Angel, who has lived at the home for three years, smiled brightly as she spoke of its atmosphere while preparing to eat dinner Tuesday among a circle of fellow residents. She said she hopes to see the “special care” area of the buildings renovated.
She likes the idea of more residents coming in.
“We’re a big happy family,” Angel said. “And we can add to it and still be a happy family.”
The declining membership of the Elks and growing fiscal difficulties factored into the sale, Mutter said. Williams and his company are seen as a “good fit” by organization leaders and the Elks will continue to have a strong presence there.
The home is licensed for 230 residents, but its occupancy stands at less than half. In late 2012, the Elks announced the facility would be open to the public for the first time.
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