The Granite Falls Hospital Board has come full circle. After nearly pulling the trigger on a 40 acre site in the Industrial Park, happenstance has motivated the board to reconsider the location of its proposed new nursing home to a site it has coveted all along.
During a special meeting held Tuesday, board members directed Granite Falls Hospital CEO and Administrator, George Gerlach, to approach the Granite Falls City Council and request approval to enter into a purchase agreement for an 8.1 acre plot of land located adjacent to Granite Ridge Place.
According to Gerlach, the hospital was originally looking to acquire 40 acres of property that would allow for both a new nursing home as well as a future hospital that would create an integrated healthcare campus somewhere down the line.
Original negotiations with property owner Dale Voss were said to have been cost prohibitive for 40 acres at the Granite Ridge location. As such, the board explored a number of sites before originally settling on the Industrial Park––for which the hospital negotiated a purchase price of $83,400, or roughly 2,000 per acre.
The Industrial Park might have very well been the final location had the nursing home initiative not been slowed by news of forthcoming changes by Blue Cross Blue Shield, which are projected to impact the hospital’s line by close to a million dollars. As a result, the news forced the hospital to reconsider its financial situation which allowed time for additional site discussion.
According to Gerlach, the conversations involved community concerns about whether the Industrial Park was an ideal location for a healthcare campus. Concerns included whether the nursing home would be detached from the residential community as well as how the campus might affect the business nature of the Industrial Park.
In the wake of discussions the board began to reconsider potential nursing home sites, including those smaller than 40 acres. The consideration of smaller sites was significant, as it represented a willingness of the board to abandon its healthcare campus initiative––at least for the present.
Under this mindset, Gerlach said the board re-ranked its options. Topping the list was the property adjacent to Granite Ridge Place. The Industrial Park was ranked third or fourth.
Following preceding negotiations between Gerlach and Voss, the board gave the administrator its blessing to approach the city council at its July 15 meeting to request approval to enter into a purchase agreement with Voss at a cost of $147,084, or just over $18,000 per acre.
If approved, the site would allow for the creation of a joint nursing home and Granite Ridge Place campus, which may or not see the buildings connected. The hospital owns the senior living facility.
As to what lies after, Gerlach said the pieces are still coming into the periphery. “We’ll jump through this hoop,” he said. “If the council gives the go-ahead we’ll make a formal offer to Dale Voss and then we’ll go onto whatever the next step is that presents itself.”
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