Hospital District looks to reacquire McFlex parcel
The time has come for Mammoth Hospital to take back one of its assets. In 2007, the hospital sold its portion of the 10-acre site known as the McFlex parcel, located between the Mammoth RV Park and McDonalds, to the Town of Mammoth Lakes in order to try and steady itself after its then-recent expansion project before taking on more debt. It was always assumed and was even written into the 2007 sales contract that the hospital would eventually buy back its portion, but the departure of Town Manager Rob Clark and a new payment plan may be speeding up the timetable.
“Rob and I have had a preliminary discussion of what we’d like to do in principle,” explained Mammoth Hospital CEO Gary Boyd, who added that with Clark leaving, “it’s something to get wrapped up.”
Boyd said that while Clark approached him with the idea to move forward, it is a mutual desire by both parties to get the ball rolling. However, the plan will need to go before their respective boards before any final decisions can be made.
Under the current contract the hospital has until July 1, 2012 to buy back its portion of the parcel. The hospital’s specific section is located between the present hospital facility and the new AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts) building now under construction. As it presently stands, the hospital would pay one lump sum to buy back its portion. The new idea, however, would be to allow the hospital to make annual payments over five years instead.
“The five year payment plan would make it easier for the hospital and would give us [the Town] revenue flow,” Clark said.
The Town currently owns a portion of the parcel where it plans to one day build a new police facility. It also co-owns another portion of the property with Mono County.
At one point in 2009, the Town considered selling off its interests to the County, and selling the hospital’s portion back to the hospital because of potential financial difficulties (compounded by State threats to withhold Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund payments, which could have left it with a $1 million shortfall), according to Clark. The need for these sales never materialized, however, which is why the Town still owns the hospital parcel, as well as its own. In fact, all of the partners in the original land transaction except for the hospital, meaning the Town, County and AOC, still own their portions.
Since the contract for the buyback of the hospital’s parcel is already in place, and has been since 2007 according to Boyd, the Town merely needs to have its attorney, Andrew Morris write up an agreement to reflect the new terms. Once the hospital’s attorney, David Baumwohl, has reviewed the agreement it will be presented to the hospital’s board as well as the Town Council for approval.
“If we get the agreement done soon I could take it to my board in February, but that would be the earliest,” Boyd said.
Clark, however, wasn’t too concerned about rushing the item through Council and the hospital board before he leaves to assume his new duties as the Town Manager of Ojai on Feb. 21.
“Someone else can do it if I leave before we are ready,” he explained, adding that the hospital doesn’t have a need for the parcel at this time, but that it is always a good idea to have land on hand for expansion later.