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Nursing home developer prepares to open in spring

The 120-bed facility is being built by a group of companies opening centers in Gainesville and Jacksonville.


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000

CITRUS HILLS -- The developer of a new nursing home hopes construction will be finished in January and that the facility will begin receiving patients in spring 2001.

The home is being built on County Road 486 just east of Forest Ridge Boulevard. The developer is Woodlands Care Center of Citrus County Inc., whose president is Morris Esformes. Several Esformes-led corporations own nursing homes in Florida, Illinois and Missouri.

This unnamed home will have a 24-bed unit for intensive rehabilitation, a 15-bed unit for Alzheimer's disease patients and 81 beds for general patients.

Sid Roberts, vice president of the new Citrus facility, said the company's management arm, EMI Enterprises, will operate the home. Esformes obtained the necessary state certificate of need from another company, and there was little time to scout a site other than the one the original company had selected for the home.

But "the more that I see the area, the more that I meet the people over there, there's no doubt in my mind that's the perfect place to build a nursing home," said Roberts, who also serves as executive director at the Woodlands Terrace Extended Care nursing home in DeLand.

"All my senses tell me this is going to work out well for us and the community," he said.

Esformes-led companies also are building new nursing homes in Gainesville and Jacksonville.

COUNTRYSIDE MANOR UPDATE: As the new Citrus Hills facility prepares to open, the operators of the Countryside Manor assisted living facility are anticipating a grand re-opening.

State regulators in September closed Countryside because the home did not have a fire sprinkler system and owners had not met timelines to install one. Residents were relocated with relatives or into other facilities.

Laurene Holder, the administrator at Countryside, said she hoped the sprinkler system will be installed in December and that the home can welcome back its residents shortly afterward.

Meantime, the home's owners are completing some renovations and sprucing up the exterior.

"We plan to open up and come back strong," Holder said.

There will be one more major change: a new name.

"It's just too much, too many negative things in the media" associated with the Countryside Manor name, she said.

Pat Glynn, a spokesman for the Agency for Health Care Administration, said his agency has completed follow-up visits with the Countryside residents to make certain they are comfortable in their new placements. So far, Glynn said, the residents seem to be doing well.

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