Santa Paula City Council Orders an Evaluation of Builder’s Offer To Buy Hospital
The Santa Paula City Council on Thursday voted to direct City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz to evaluate a developer's proposal to buy Santa Paula Memorial Hospital and complete a report by April 19, the Los Angeles Times reports (Barnes, Los Angeles Times, 4/10). Santa Paula Development Partners last week offered $12 million to $14 million to buy the 28-acre site and reopen the hospital. Under the proposal, SPDP would seek approval to build an assisted living center and senior housing, company spokesperson Marsha Rea said. The developer's offer comes five months after the company made a similar offer that would have allowed developers to build on part of the hospital campus, while the hospital board worked to identify a group to operate the hospital on an interim basis. The original offer did not include the $12 million to $14 million figure. The hospital board rejected that offer because there was "no significant money attached to it." The hospital's board of trustees in December filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Santa Barbara, three days after the board closed the facility. Documents filed with the court listed no claims or creditors, but board members have said that the not-for-profit hospital has debts of about $7.5 million and about 400 creditors (California Healthline, 4/9). The report would provide the council with the background information necessary to take an official position on the proposal, Bobkiewicz said. Greg Boyd, general manager of SPDP, said, "The City Council is taking the right step," adding that his company is looking for a solution "that allows the hospital to remain there until a new one is built." Hospital board Chair Phil Romney said the city council could play "a significant role" in reviving the hospital, including changing zoning to allow more development. Romney said that talks with Ventura County officials about a takeover or merger between the hospital and the city's public health system "had broken down," but county officials said that "the door remain[s] open" to an agreement in the future, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 4/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.