The Ensign Group has agreed to purchase Christus St. Joseph Villa, a continuing care retirement community located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Christus Marian Center, a behavioral health center operated within St. Joseph Villa.

The purchase price was not disclosed, but the publicly traded company (Nasdaq: ENSG) based in Mission Viejo, Calif., said it will close the deal with cash. The agreement was announced Jan. 21 and the sale is expected to be effective Feb. 1. The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals.

Founded in 1947 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Christus St. Joseph Villa is part of the Catholic nonprofit Christus Health system and has long been a fixture in Utah's senior care community.

Christus St. Joseph Villa is a full-service senior care campus with 221 skilled nursing beds, 48 assisted living units and 60 independent living apartments. It also includes the Christus Marian Center, the Salt Lake Valley's premier long-term inpatient acute psychiatric program, with its 12 psychiatric beds. The campus is currently about 70% occupied.

"We are honored that Christus has entrusted us with this important stewardship and we are committed to continuing the mission of Christus and the sisters who founded St. Joseph Villa," says Matt Church, a longtime Ensign operational leader. Church will assume the helm of the expansive continuing care campus.

"We admire the wonderful work they've done here over the past 63 years, and pledge to build on their great legacy to meet and exceed the clinical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each resident, staff member and family," adds Church.

The Ensign Group is a holding company that currently owns 54 independently operated assisted living and skilled nursing care facilities in California, Arizona, Texas, and Idaho. It leases an additional 30 facilities in an operating agreement. The company’s facilities have a total combined capacity of 9,300 beds.

"This strategic acquisition further solidifies Ensign's operating synergies in Utah," says Christopher Christensen, Ensign's president and CEO.

The facility will be operated by a subsidiary of Milestone Healthcare Inc., Ensign's Utah-based portfolio subsidiary, and will join existing healthcare operations in nine other Milestone subsidiaries in Utah and Southern Idaho.

Christensen reaffirmed that Ensign is seeking additional opportunities to acquire both well-performing and struggling long-term care operations across the western U.S. The acquisition will bring Ensign's growing portfolio to 85 healthcare facilities, two hospice companies and a home health business.

Ensign’s stock price closed at $25.14 per share on Jan. 27, up from $17.09 a year earlier.