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City, JBM Leasing settle lawsuit over sale of Allen Bennett Hospital

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Enlarge photo

Side view of former Allen Bennett Hospital.
 

File

Side view of former Allen Bennett Hospital.

 

The City of Greer and JBM Leasing LLC announced a settlement agreement and release of claims on a 2016 lawsuit pending from the sale of a 10-acre tract to 313 Memorial Drive LLC.

Ownership of the former Allen Bennett Memorial Hospital and Roger Huntington Nursing center complex reached its apparent conclusion Tuesday night, nearly eight years after the Greenville Hospital System gifted the property to the city in September 2010. Jim Benson of 313 Memorial Drive LLC agreed to purchase the property for $3.01 million in December 2016.

Documents of the settlement remain to be signed.

Both parties identified a common desire to improve a stretch of Wade Hampton Blvd. to enhance safety measures along the heavily travelled highway, according to the city’s announcement Tuesday night. Mayor Rick Danner referred comment to City Administrator Ed Driggers and Communications Manager Steve Owens, the author of the city’s announcement.

The City of Greer also announced an estimated $220,000 for enhancements to Wade Hampton Boulevard. Among improvements, granted preliminary approval by the S.C. Department of Transportation, are a median cut, an acceleration and deceleration lane, re-striping of the existing median area to improve the turn lane, and trees removed located in the median.

The scheduled improvements front Toyota of Greer and the proposed new Hyundai of Greer dealership.

The saga included a bankruptcy and $400,000 judgment for the city from its first buyer, a futile marketing campaign, meth labs dismantled, an environmental spill – 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel that seeped into a nearby creek – and interested buyers who failed to meet the city’s nearly $2 million asking price that included almost $800,000 for the site’s demolition.

Benson pledged $300,000 – $100,000 a year over three years –  to the Kids Planet project. City Council made a public commitment to fund the project. Recreation department officials are in discussions for the design/build of the playground with Alta Planning + Design.

“We’re very pleased to reach a resolution that will provide a needed safety improvement for commuters on Wade Hampton Boulevard and improve access to local businesses,” Driggers said in the statement. “This will nicely complement the recent lighting improvements made along the highway under the Greer Community Master Plan. It also fits well with planned gateway project work along Wade Hampton Boulevard.”

“We are pleased to reach a resolution of all issues with the City and to move forward in a positive way that will benefit the City of Greer in which over 350 associates of our dealerships live and work,” Escude stated in the report.

Under terms of the agreement neither party admits liability and each will bear the costs of its respective legal expenses.

Greer taxpayers have been billed about $2 million acquiring the property through bankruptcy proceedings, a diesel spill cleanup in a nearby creek, police dismantling two meth labs, copper wiring and much of the interior infrastructure stolen, and the entire complex razed. That does not include legal fees.

 

 

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