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Allen Bennett campus has prospective buyer

City and DHEC formalizing documentation to close diesel spill issue

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, January 28, 2013

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The Allen Bennett Hospital campus is in due diligence with a prospective buyer for the two-building campus – the hospital and the Roger Huntington Nursing Center.

The Allen Bennett Hospital campus is in due diligence with a prospective buyer for the two-building campus – the hospital and the Roger Huntington Nursing Center.

A suitor for the Allen Bennett Hospital campus is undergoing its due diligence with the City of Greer, according to City Administrator Ed Driggers.

Meanwhile, the City is in the final steps remedying DHEC’s latest request to put closure to about 1,500 gallons of a diesel fuel spill in 2010.

City Administrator Ed Driggers said he couldn’t comment on the discussions between the City and its prospective buyer. But he said the issue between the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the City is nearing its conclusion and DHEC spokesperson Jim Beasley concurred.

“What we have asked (the city) to do is document any sampling after the spill that everything had been cleaned up,” Beasley said.  “And to basically prove in essence there is no residual contamination that remains in any other nearby soil or water.”

DHEC officials previously noted no animals were harmed and no drinking water was known to have been contaminated after the spill.

Driggers said he requested an onsite meeting, which occurred, to convince DHEC the valve malfunction on the emergency generator was no longer an environmental hazard. “The fuel had been drained and the generator will no longer be in use,” Driggers said. “Their (DHEC) written report was produced site unseen and we asked for a visit to show there was no danger to public health.”

The Allen Bennett campus consists of two buildings – the 168,000 square foot hospital and 44,000 square-foot  Roger Huntington Nursing Center – is a prime piece of property in the city. The uses are limited with healthcare the most suitable due to the construction of the facility. “The worst case scenario is for the campus to be razed and we sell the property as prime real estate,” Driggers said. 

After launching Greer Memorial Hospital on Buncombe Road, the Greenville Hospital System in June 2009 gave the city the 7-acre, 200,000 square feet two-building campus located at Memorial Drive and Wade Hampton Boulevard.

The Allen Bennett hospital was sold Dec. 2010 for $1.4 million to Cardinal Real Estate, a Washington, D.C. - area real estate firm owned by Garrick Good, who had ties to Greer and Spartanburg. The property was valued at $6 million.

Good told City Council his plan included a $14.2 million investment to repurpose the facility with 100 long-term jobs in a care center and another 50 jobs for a Center for Disease Control and Prevention national call center. The city was to receive $35,208 annually for 20 years as part of a fee in lieu of taxes agreement.

Good failed to make any payments to the city and Greer introduced foreclosure proceedings on the property, regaining ownership last year and thus inheriting the resolution of the spill.

“We were committed to make the site look good, not to become an eyesore. We kept the property manicured,” Driggers said. “It was a gift to us and when and if it is sold the public will be made good. Our objective was not to make a windfall, but rehabilitate the structure for reuse and get it on the tax books and develop jobs for the community.”

The rejuvenation in the city began Dec. 28 when Century 3 Inc. purchased the State Auto Insurance campus at 113 S. Main Street. The global company founded in Greer will transfer 100 employees to the 65,803-square foot site that sits on 8.41-acres. The site was listed for $3.7 million on the Greer Development Corporation’s website.

Walmart will open the first Neighborhood Market in South Carolina in mid-February that will employ 90-plus employees. However the closure of Food Lion as an underperforming store on Wade Hampton Blvd., will dip into those employment numbers.

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