BRITT - The next year could hold many new but positive changes for a Britt senior living facility.

Recently purchased by InvXtus, both the new owner and staff members of Britt's Summit House are hoping to complete certification to become a fully-licensed assisted living facility within the next four months, followed by the addition of a new memory care neighborhood.

Summit House Administrator Maureen Ahern-Oppy said she is excited to see the facility grow under new ownership.

"(InvXtus) is a growing company with a number of years of experience in assisted living," Ahern-Oppy said. "They have the ability to infuse capital into our building and help conduct this conversion, and they were willing to make that investment in us."

The process of finding a new owner for Summit House started one year ago.

In November 2009, former owner Sunwest Management Inc. abandoned Summit House after the company defaulted on the facility's mortgage payment. Lien holder and Bettendorf-based THE National Bank then entered into foreclosure proceedings with the company.

Meanwhile, THE National Bank appointed Grace Management Inc. - a privately owned management firm based out of Minneapolis, Minn. - supervise the facility while it sought out a new owner.

In July, a sheriff's sale was held for Summit House. Ownership was then transferred back to THE National Bank.

InvXtus officially took ownership of Summit House on Oct. 1.

InvXtus, which was formed in 2010, is an asset management company specializing in assisted living and Alzheimer's care facilities. It currently has properties in California and Nevada.

"We're a purpose-driven company," said InvXtus co-owner Craig Johnson at a meeting held for Summit House residents and families. "We try to make decisions based on our philosophy, which is one that values independence over dependence."

One of the reasons his company chose to purchase Summit House, Johnson said, was because of its commitment to resident care.

"You have a great manager, great staff and beautiful building," Johnson told residents. "We are really excited to have this building."

Summit House has been in operation since 2001. It currently is considered an independent living community for seniors. Today it provides 24-hour staffing for its residents, as well as limited dietary, transportation and maintenance services, although one of its goals since its inception has been to make the transition to an assisted living facility.

Ahern-Oppy said the changes at Summit House will happen in two stages. The first stage will be obtaining certification as an assisted living facility. The second will be the addition of a memory care neighborhood, which will specialize in the care and treatment of residents will Alzheimer's and dementia.

Ahern-Oppy said she hopes certification will happen by March 1, with completion of the memory care neighborhood tentatively set within the next 12 months.

Other changes also will be happening at Summit House in the form of physical upgrades. Ahern-Oppy said she and the building's new owner hope to add a library and bistro. Wireless Internet access also will eventually be offered to residents, and Ahern-Oppy said she plans to add a licensed nurse to the Summit House staff.

Ahern-Oppy said she is looking forward to what the next year has in store for Summit House.

"Building occupancy is at the highest it has ever been," she said. "We know we need to continue to grow, though, and InvXtus is going to expand with us because they know we've done well."

Megan VerHelst is editor of the Britt News-Tribune, a Lee Enterprises newspaper.


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