October 25, 2012

No acceptable bids for current MaineGeneral Medical Center properties

Current Augusta and Waterville campuses could not fetch minimum $2.6 million bid

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

So far, there are no takers for two gently used hospital properties.

click image to enlarge

This photo taken from Memorial Bridge shows the MaineGeneral Medical Center hospital in Augusta. The property, along with MaineGeneral's Seton unit in Waterville, failed to attract the minimum $2.6 million bid in a three-day, online auction that ended Wednesday.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

Staff graphic by Sharon Wood

Additional Photos Below

MaineGeneral Medical Center's three-day online auction to sell its Augusta hospital and the Seton campus in Waterville ended without a buyer Wednesday afternoon.

The bidders didn't meet the bid minimum, said Chuck Hays, chief executive officer of MaineGeneral Medical Center.

On paper, the minimum bid was $2.6 million. However, the proposed deal called for the new owner to recoup $1.1 million in rent from the hospital. That means bidders needed to put up at least $1.5 million for both properties.

The hospital plans to vacate the East Chestnut Street hospital in Augusta after the new regional hospital opens in December 2013. The Seton property would be turned over a year after that.

Hays said there were several qualified bidders in the auction -- he wasn't sure exactly how many -- but none offered anything above the lease payment.

"The good news is we have a whole list of contacts now that we're going to follow up with," Hays said. "Basically we did this early so we could see if there's any interest out there and get some contacts."

He said the bidders were all real estate investors. Consultants had told hospital officials that the lease-back provision would generate more interest.

The hospital will consolidate its in-patient services at the 192-bed regional hospital in north Augusta and retain the Thayer campus in Waterville as an out-patient hospital with a 24-hour emergency room.

The three-day online property auction ended at 2 p.m. Wednesday, and was conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle, which has offices in Boston and provides commercial real estate services.

In Augusta, the property for sale is on just more than 19 acres near the east end of Memorial Bridge, and includes the seven-floor hospital, parking lots, three houses and a building that once housed the Augusta General School of Nursing and is now primarily used for offices. Some of the property borders the Kennebec River and the former Augusta Mental Health Institute campus.

In Waterville, the 88-acre property for sale includes the eight-floor Seton building on Chase Avenue, which once had 43 in-patient beds and houses offices and outpatient services.

Pre-qualified prospective buyers were allowed to bid on the two properties together or separately, but competing health care businesses were not permitted to submit bids.

Waterville Mayor Karen Heck and Augusta City Manager William Bridgeo have previously said they're looking forward to getting the properties back on the tax rolls.

The financing package for the new $312 million hospital does not anticipate any revenue coming from the properties.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

MaineGeneral Medical Center's Seton campus in Waterville was part of an online auction that also included Augusta's hospital. The three-day auction, ended Wednesday, failed to attract the minimum $2.6 million bid,

Staff photo by David Leaming


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