Commissioners approve sale of Old Shelby General Hospital site to highest bidder
The old Shelby General Hospital building and surrounding acreage were approved for sale to the highest bidder on Wednesday in a unanimous vote by the Shelby County Commissioners' Court.
Kevin Jones bid of $152,500 for the 6.72-acre tract and former hospital was the higher of only two bids received. Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison opened the bids during a special meeting Wednesday morning.
The other bid of $150,000 came from the City of Center's Economic Development Corp.
She said the terms of the sale outlined in bid packet information stressed the property was being sold “as is.” In this case that stipulation probably comes with a considerable expense tied to asbestos abatement and removal which will be required with demolition or renovation.
“You have to consider the amount we're saving by not having to do the asbestos removal and abatement ourselves” at taxpayer expense, Harbison said. By selling the property the county will be releasing itself from liability tied to the aging facility, she said.
Commissioner Roscoe McSwain said the county was fortunate to find a seller.
“That's 150,000 brought to us and we know we would have to spend in excess of $200,000 for demolition,” he said. McSwain estimated the county was in a better financial position by as much as $380,000 to $400,000 by selling the property.
“Is the county willing to invest money to clean it up and then try to sell it?” McSwain asked. “Or does anybody have foresight on some use the county could use it for? I don't.”
Commissioner Charles Barr indicated the property has fallen into disrepair.
“It is an eyesore on the busiest street in the county,” Barr said.
McSwain said another major consideration in the sale is the loss of potential property taxes which taxing entities like the county, city and school district are losing while the county holds onto the property rather than get it back into use.
“There's no telling how many thousands of dollars in property taxes the county, city and school are losing every year,” he said. “We would have had to spend about $200,000 to $250,000 to get the property in usable condition.”
McSwain said even if the county sold the property for $1, it would still benefit from tax revenue in the future.
Harbison said the loss of tax revenue along with the insurance expense the county has tied with holding onto the property bode well for moving forward with a sale.
Harbison said she was surprised there were not more than the two bids submitted.
“I've had a lot of people talk to be about the property and we gave out five or six packets” with only the two bids returned by the Tuesday, Dec. 3 deadline.
Commissioner Tom Bellmyer made the motion to accept Jones' high bid with the stipulation the buyer assumes all responsibility tied with the property and purchases it “as is.”