Legislators to consider proposal in wake of auction

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    More than 50 people, including several members of the EDA board and a couple members of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, were among those to attend the Dec. 20 auction in Stuart. (Photo by Amanda Collins)

    When the 2018 session of the General Assembly begins Jan. 10, emergency proposals to extend the Acute Care Hospital License for the Patrick hospital are among the more than 400 bills legislators will consider.

    State Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Moneta, and Del. Charles Poindexter, R-Glade Hill, introduced the proposals in response to a campaign by local officials and residents, according to a release from county and economic development officials.

    Both the Patrick County Board of Supervisors and the Patrick County Economic Development Authority released a statement in November, urging Patrick residents to lobby Stanley and Poindexter to extend the license in an effort to put the hospital in the best possible position for a potential buyer to reopen and operate the facility.

    The extension is needed because requirements for a new license are complicated and the process to licensure is lengthy, officials have said.

    Pioneer officials filed bankruptcy in 2016. The local hospital closed in September.

    The property was sold at a foreclosure auction on Dec. 20, with only two bidders in the running.

    Dale Puckett, chairman of the Patrick County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Board, offered $500,000 for the hospital property in the opening bid.

    The lender, Virginia Community Capital (VCC), was the high bidder, with a $5.7 million offer.

    The outcome of the auction came as no surprise to Economic Development Director Debbie Foley.

    “What happened is what we expected,” Foley said after the auction. She explained the lender typically is the high bidder in a foreclosure sale.

    “Before the sale, the mortgage company couldn’t really sell it because they didn’t own it. It is typical for most mortgage companies to bid” at or near the amount owed on the property, Foley said.

    “Then, they own it and can start the negotiation process to sell it,” Foley said, adding the EDA now will touch base with potential buyers who showed an interest before the auction and work with VCC to “find out what their terms are” for a sale.

    Bill Clark, vice chairman of the EDA board, said helping to broker the sale of the hospital falls under the agency’s umbrella.

    Clark said the “EDA’s purpose is to promote business,” and the agency will do whatever it can to foster growth and promote economic development.

    Bill Lewis, an attorney with the Richmond law firm Beale, Davidson, Etherington & Morris, P.C. conducted the sale, which started at 1 p.m. with a reading of the auction notice.

    Del. Charles Poindexter, R-Glade Hill, was among the more than 50 to attend the auction.

    “I’m very optimistic we can get this through and hopefully, we can get the hospital back up and running,” he said.