Courier Staff Writers

Trilogy Health Services of Louisville, Ky., will bring about 120 new full-time jobs to Madison with the purchase of part of the downtown King's Daughters' Health campus.

KDH President and CEO Roger Allman and Trilogy President and CEO Randy Bufford on Friday announced the purchase of part of the hospital campus for $1.

Trilogy plans a $4 million renovation of the downtown hospital building into a senior living community to join the 74 other communities the company owns throughout the Midwest, including Thornton Terrace in Hanover.

"We've done this in several other communities," Bufford said of the pending renovations. "We're doing one very similar to this right now over in New Albany, Ind."

Along with the hospital structure - which was last renovated in 1995 - the purchase agreement includes several properties surrounding the hospital along Presbyterian Avenue.

KDH will lease the top three floors of the existing parking garage to Trilogy.

The property exchange will take place on April 1, to allow time for moving and cleaning after KDH moves to its new hilltop hospital campus on Feb. 23.

About 150 KDH employees will remain downtown in the hospital's business operations center, sleep center, EMS headquarters, physicians' offices, marketing offices and cancer treatment center. KDH employs about 1,000 full-time and part-time workers.

The Trilogy facility, which has not yet been given a named, is expected to open by May 2014.

Bufford expects the center to have about 50 skilled-nursing rooms, 30 assisted-living spaces, and 16 independent-living apartments on the fourth floor of the building. Most of the rooms will be private in the new location, Bufford said. Detailed floor plans for the center will be unveiled at a later date.

"You're going to see a very beautiful facility," Bufford said.

Bufford said the deal is good for three reasons: Additional health care services, economic growth and utilization of the downtown structure.

"I hate to use clichés in business, but I think this really is a win-win for everybody," he said.

The new senior living campus will bring 120 to 125 full-time jobs to the area, which will range from healthcare jobs to maintenance and administrative positions.

"It's a wonderful economic development," Allman said.

Trilogy already has ties to the Jefferson County and surrounding areas through Thornton Terrace, a senior living community in Hanover.

The Hanover location will remain in operation after the opening of the Madison location, but it might see a few changes including a change to all private rooms. Bufford also sees a possibility to share resources between the two Trilogy facilities, he said.

This isn't the first time for Trilogy to open new locations within close proximity to other existing communities. Several of the company's living communities are located near one another or near regional hospital centers, Bufford said.

"We love clustering our facilities," he said.

The facility will be one of many under the supervision of Madison resident Andra Bladen, the vice president for the Southeast Division of Trilogy. Bladen will oversee 10 senior living communities - including the Madison and Hanover locations.

Bufford noted that the company hopes to maintain a close working relationship with King's Daughters' Health after the opening of the new facility, in addition to becoming a partner within the downtown Madison area.

Bufford said Trilogy approached KDH about building a location on the hilltop next to the new hospital - a common practice for Trilogy - because the company identified a market need for an additional assisted living facility in Jefferson County.

That's when KDH steered Bufford and Trilogy to its soon-to-be vacant hospital facility, which is the largest structure in downtown Madison.

Allman said the agreement came to just $1 because there is essentially no demand for former hospital facilities.

He said tearing down the site would have cost more than $1 million.

Allman said early in the negotiations, Trilogy became an ideal tenant for the building.

Another goal was to not allow the building to become an eyesore. Allman cited one occasion in which a group of investors purchased a former hospital in Richmond, Ind., for millions of dollars and never developed the site.

As a "good neighbor" and "good citizen," Allman said KDH did not want to see the same thing happen in Madison.

"The one thing we said we would not do was to leave an abandoned building sitting here," he said.

Bufford and Madison Mayor Damon Welch said other discussions between the city and Trilogy about future partnerships have taken place, but nothing has been decided at this point, Welch said.

Bufford also noted that extra space in the downtown building may allow for future healthcare-related retail areas.