By Jesse Wood
In late July, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System purchased a 16-acre property, known as the Greer/Henson Farm, in Boone for future expansion. The property was purchased from Greer Boone LLC for $9 million, according to deeds filed with the Watauga County Register of Deeds.
“We purchased the 16-acre tract with the future in mind. It adjoins our property and will allow us in the short term to move forward with the construction of a comprehensive outpatient facility, which will provide easier access for patients. We will be developing a master plan that will positively impact the delivery of primary care, oncology and cardiology, for example,” ARHS CEO Richard Sparks said.
“In the longer term — as Watauga Medical Center ages and our community’s medical needs change – this property will allow for additional expansion, should we ever need it. Without this acquisition it is likely that we would have needed to relocate somewhere else in the county in the next ten to fifteen years. “
The property is located at the corner of Deerfield Road and Blowing Rock Road.
The property is located within the town’s proposed Wellness District Small Area Plan. In mentioning the construction of Appalachian State University’s new Beaver College of Health Sciences just down the road, Sparks noted that ARHS is “excited to be a part of the transformational change” taking place in the area
“In just a few years, this side of town will be a hub of activity with patients migrating easily between outpatient services and students receiving the education they need to take care of our community,” Sparks said.
ARHS plans to build a historic park and include easements for the Boone Greenway Trail. This tract is a critical stretch of property that could connect Boone and Blowing Rock via the Middle Fork Greenway and the Boone Greenway trails.
“We feel very fortunate and enjoyed working with the family who owned the site to create a shared vision of what this unique piece of property will mean for this community for decades to come,” Sparks said.
Developers have set eyes on the property for years.
Last year, a South Carolina-based developer considered building a shopping center on the property. However, the Boone Board of Adjustment denied a variance request pertaining to stream buffers.
The property features a big barn, a 19th century farmhouse and a brick home. The rolling hills on the property used to be a driving range many years ago.
In 2010, the Watauga County Farmers Market was seeking a location and eyed the farm. It took a proposal to the Town of Boone in 2010 and called the property the “last farm of its kind within the town limits [one that] sits at a prime business location.”