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Appraisals for Old Hospital Place Value at $1.5 Million as County Moves Toward Acquisition

| July 25, 2013

Flagler County Commissioners, seen here during their walk-through of the old hospital in May, are flashing their way to acquisition. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler County Commissioners, seen here during their walk-through of the old hospital in May, are flashing their way to acquisition. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: Friday, 2:15 p.m., with Administrator Coffey’s comments.

Two independent appraisers have placed the market value of the old 81-bed Memorial Hospital in Bunnell at $1.5 million, and an engineering firm that surveyed the hulking 60,000 square-foot property found no overt issues with the building aside from  asbestos.

The 2013 Files:

The Documents:

The Flagler County Commission called for the appraisals and engineering reports after approving a $1.23 million option to buy the property, which has been vacant since it stopped being used as a hospital in 2003. Two commissioners voted against the option, which is controversial because of the cost of the building and its condition, and the appearance that the county was providing a sweetheart deal for the building’s owners, who have been unable to unload the property through difficult economic times.

The hospital belongs to a consortium that has changed its name once, and changed some, but not all, of its owners: Mike Chiumento, the Palm Coast attorney, has owned the building since 2003, when it acquired it for $750,000. Other current owners are Bruce Page, the banker, and James Newslow of Ormond Beach.

The appraisals were conducted by Hamilton and Jacobs of Port Orange, and by Cooksey and Associates of Ormond Beach. They are based on the former hospital as a “shell” building, and the assumption that “no further interior or exterior demolition work is required,” as one of the appraisals states. “We understand that this is the basis for the current purchase negotiations.” The assumption is virtually untenable, based on the commissioners’ own walk-through of the property, the administration’s estimate of needed—and rigorous—site work, and the engineers’ assessments.

Craig Coffey. (© FlaglerLive)

Still, the reports’ conclusions buttress the case of the county administration, which put the purchase deal together and pushed hard for approval. The administration is looking to move the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to the old hospital, where the sheriff would occupy about 23,000 square feet of the building after significant repairs, bringing the total cost of the acquisition and repairs to at least $5 million. That money would cover repairs only for the 23,000 square feet portion of the building. More money would be needed for the rest of the building.

Cooksey gave a market value of $1.5 million, while Hamilton placed the value at $1.49 million, an essentially insignificant difference.

Those appraisals were conducted without the information provided by the engineering reports, which would most likely lower the value of the building.

Craig Coffey, the county administrator, said deadlines made it impracticable to turn the engineering analysis over to appraisers and ask for renewed appraisals, which cost around $5,000 each. “They put caveats in the appraisals to accommodate for that,” he said Friday.

Analyses of the building also revealed that the roof must be replaced at a cost of about $368,000.

The property’s certified assessed value in 2012 was $353,952. That figure nearly doubled for 2013, when it was published on the property appraiser’s website not long after discussions about the county’s acquisition of the building became public. That value is currently listed as $661,453, an 87 percent increase over the previous year and the highest value since 2009.

The Flagler County Commission will be evaluating the appraisals and the reports at an Aug. 1 meeting. Cooksey conveyed its appraisal to the county administration on July 2, Hamilton and Jacobs on July 5, and the engineering consultants on July 17. When FlaglerLive requested the appraisals on July 9, and again on July 11, a county spokesman replied on the 11th that the appraisals were not in yet.

At one point, the administration had been appraised of the documents and their conclusions, but asked that the documents in printed form not be turned in yet, according to people familiar with the exchanges.

On Friday, Coffey said he will possibly have a recommendation to the commission when the commission meets to decide its next move next Thursday (Aug. 1). But the hospital option is far from the only one. Coffey said he is preparing an analysis that will list six options, one of which includes tearing down the hospital building and constructing anew.

But commissioners will have to decide on Aug. 1 whether they want to proceed with buying the hospital. “I will ask them if they want to rule the hospital out or to rule it in,” Coffey said, because of the expiration of the buying option. The option can be renewed, however, by agreement between all the parties, essentially lengthening the time for the commission to make up its mind.

Coffey is not yet ready to make a recommendation, but he said “it’s going to be very close on a few things,” as the commission will have to make its decision with the future of the county in mind, when the population will have doubled, and sheriff’s operations will be more extensive.

Jacksonville-based Universal Engineering Sciences Inc. was hired to provide an analysis of any presence of asbestos, lead-based paints, visual mold and hazardous materials in the old hospital building. The firm also analyzed the presence of asbestos in the smaller, 4,500-square foot community services building on the property

Asbestos was originally surveyed and found in 2000 and asbestos-removal conducted in 2006. Based on 10 samples collected from each of the two buildings after walk-throughs in early July, asbestos was found in each. The samples were collected “from readily accessible and representative materials” considered suspect for asbestos.

The county unofficially knew that the building still contained asbestos, and its presence is not threatening “unless disturbed,” according to the engineering report. But the extent of its presence may be more of a concern, as its removal is expensive and raises further questions about the viability of the structure itself as a salvageable hulk. The engineering firm did not collect samples from fire-rated doors but assumes those contain asbestos, as do other areas not samples. The county was planning to remove those anyway.

No lead paint, was observed, nor were hazardous materials. But mold is a problem “throughout the structure,” the report states, “mainly on the interior of the building exterior walls” and in concentrations “around penetrations to the exterior of the building.” The exterior insulation is damaged “and potentially cause mold related issues.” Mold was not observed in the smaller building. But that building is not currently part of the county’s calculations for the sheriff’s office.

“It must be emphasized that it was not possible to observe all areas within the building(s) and that unreported asbestos and lead may be present within the machinery, wall voids or other areas not accessed by our field personnel,” the engineering report cautions. “The scope of this survey was not intended tio provide the detailed information generally necessary to appropriately determine the scope of work for a particular abatement operation.”

The same firm provided an environmental assessment of the property.

An oil spill occurred on the 7-acre property in 1989 and was remediated. Some 23 monitoring and recovery wells dating back to the oil spills are on the property, but have been abandoned. The engineers found no “obvious surface discharge” of hazardous waste. They found 13 leaky underground storage tanks within a periphery that extends more broadly than the property itself—as required by standard surveys of the sort—but none was found to be hazardous, or a “recognized environmental condition,” or REC. Three facilities within that range had handled hazardous materials, but none is considered as an REC.

There were no overt surprises in the appraisals, which follow a standard template.

“There is limited new commercial development at this time,” the Hamilton appraisal states. “This new development is primarily in small owner-occupied medical offices and new dollar stores. Additionally, there have been a number of new retail and restaurant development in the most appealing commercial hubs in the Flagler County/Volusia County markets. Otherwise, sales and rental activities, although generally higher than just a year or so ago, are still rather slow and will likely remain that way until the economy begins to pick up speed. In this type of market, value conclusions become less reliable than in times of an active and stable market.”


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29 Responses for “Appraisals for Old Hospital Place Value at $1.5 Million as County Moves Toward Acquisition”

  1. Kendall says:

    I will vote against any commissioner that votes for this purchase.

  2. confidential says:

    Proposing to raise our county taxes to pay for this contaminated building. The proposed mill will cost me about 150 plus a year tax increase. Just this year. The worst will be when the housing market will recover and these hundreds will multiply fast based in the proposed mill rate.

  3. Kip Durocher says:

    To all the individuals involved in this: “Have you no shame?”

  4. Truth of the matter says:

    Well at least we have two commissioners smart enough to realize “you cant make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear ” .

  5. Marissa says:

    The Flagler County Commissioners in the dark leading the blind voters into the dark. Another boondoggle of wasted taxpayer money.

  6. rthomp11 says:

    REALLY???? That appraisal is so far off the mark it’s ridiculous!!!

    They already have the land and really don’t need to buy more for the new Sheriff’s office. The land the current Administration Building and Court house sits on is just a little over 83 acres. Of which, about 50% is still wooded. If they used the wooded section that sits on 100 in front of the annex for the new sheriff’s department, it would solve many issues and save money.

    1. County already owns the land… hence they won’t waste taxpayer money on a land purchase they do not need.

    2. By building the Sheriff’s office there, there will be no need to build a huge parking lot as the over flow parking can park in the seldom used and too large court parking lot. All three buildings can share in parking.

    3. The close proximity of the court house and the department garage to the Sheriff’s department will cut down on the wear and tear of the vehicles and thus the cost of maintenance.

    4. Again, the close proximity of the court house and the department garage to the Sheriff’s department will cut down on Deputies time and thus enable them to spend more time patrolling Flagler County.

    5. Having the Sheriff’s Department on 100 will provide easy and quick access when responding to emergencies.

    I just think this is the logical and economical thing to do. The county could build a really nice Sheriff’s Department right there on RT. 100 for everyone to see, use and etc… and it would look great in front of the court house and admin building. The Emergency Management Center is on the same property as well.

  7. Florida Native says:

    Here we go again.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How much did the commission pay these appraisers to provide such high numbers? I recall a few months back when this discussion first came to light…..the building was only appraising for $350,000 or so, which would result in a $400,000 LOSS for the wonderful prominent community investors who bought this property right before the real estate bubble exploded in their face. Now, suddenly, as the deadline for the county’s acquisition of this dilapidated eyesore will provide these same “investors” a 100% return on their investment, should the county pay the full appraisal value.

    Somebody on the County Commission needs to put me in contact with these two independent appraisers so that I can have my house appraised for double what I paid for it in 2007! According to the Flagler County Property Appraiser, my home is currently work about ONE HALF to TWO THIRDS of what I paid for it. If these independent appraisers could help me out a little…..maybe I could change the fact that I am about to lose my home to foreclosure by selling it for double what I paid for it! Then again…..I am not a member of the “GOOD OL’ BOY CLUB” here in Flagler County……nor am I a prominent attorney or other major public figurehead who can afford to play golf with all of the local politicians and give to their campaigns…….so I guess I will continue living in reality, which will most likely be my pickup sometime in the next few months! Maybe, the Commissioners will allow me to park in their driveways each night during the week to sleep…..but I won’t hold my breath on that one either!

  9. John Boy says:

    With assessment and ilimited nspection of the propert completed, would you buy yjis if it was your residence? I think this is a real red herring, sort of reminds me of the old movie “Money Pit”.

  10. Geezer says:

    Flagler County reminds me of the proverbial eccentric old man who cries poverty.
    The “poor old sod” from the Aqualung album by Jethro Tull.
    That same old man who rides a crummy bicycle and wears the same pants year in, year out.
    The fellow who wants to clean your windshield, and lives out of shopping bags.
    The odiferous old-timer who never heard of soap, who holds out his hoary hands for a handout.

    Old man frequents the bank regularly (to the employees dismay) where he visits his millions,
    as he stinks up the joint.. That’s Flagler County to me.

    Funny how Flagler County comes up with millions to waste, and at the same time
    there’s few, if any services for the people of Flagler.

    What a racket.

  11. Magnolia says:

    Chuimento. I know that name. Isn’t he the guy who is trying to get the Council to buy a new City Hall? Did we elect him?

    • Raul Troche says:

      Sure he wants that city hall built. If I am not mistaken he has ownership interest in that property too. He is one of ” the bad ( not good) ‘Ol boys club.

  12. confidential says:

    No to school referendum. No now to City of PC City Hall. No to BOCC on this hospital purchase while raising our taxes!! What part of NO they do not get?. Are our elected representatives paying attention to our clamors..? What did we elect you then for?

  13. nyy says:

    Magnolia, good points! If Chuimento he is in it for a profit!


    WE NEED TO MAKE IT CLEAR TO THEM…………..THIS IS A BAD MOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Raul Troche says:

      I suggest you and others begin going to the commissioners meetings and let your voice be heard.

      • Anonymous says:

        Going to the commission meetings and voicing your opinion is pointless! These goons have already made their decisions long before it comes up for discussion at meetings! Their meetings are nothing more than a dog and pony show to see just how many people in the community that they have pissed off with their latest brain fart idea!

  15. Diego Miller says:

    Mr. Coffey tear down this building!

  16. kmedley says:

    Asbestos is still present, after a removal in 2006; but, as long as it is not “disturbed” we’re good to go?! Would anyone care to hazard a guess on the cost of asbestos remediation today? Then there is the mold issue; “mainly on the interior of the building exterior walls” and in concentrations “around penetrations to the exterior of the building.” The fact that the mold has been found on the exterior walls should be of concern. In addition to the mold remediation that must take place, what if exterior walls must be replaced? That will be one expensive price tag. You see, you simply cannot knock down walls that have been identified with mold. Why? Because such demolition will release the mold spores into the environment. That’s why remediation specialists are called to remove the mold. Let’s not forget, the proposed repair money is for the main building for the Sheriff’s office only. When other groups seek to occupy the smaller buildings those edifices will have to be brought up to occupancy standards and that means more money. There are 13 underground leaky tanks that we all know will require attention and possible removal.

    This laundry list of items that has to be addressed before one remodeling nail is hammered, IMO, is a remodel project too far. Let’s be smart with the people’s money. That may very well be a foreign concept to some; but, wouldn’t it be easier and less expensive to use the land the County already owns at the GSB complex and build the Sheriff’s facility or add-on to an existing structure to accommodate? Wouldn’t that option allow the Sheriff to have input with regards to features and needs of the building? Flagler County does not need to bail out the old hospital.

  17. Interesting says:

    If you google “Certificed Property Appraisers in Flagler County, FL” five (5) will appear. Why go to Volusia County for something Flagler County can provide?

    • Charles Gardner says:

      Great question.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Interesting. Now after I get these appraisers to appraise my house for double or triple what it is worth according to the County Tax Appraiser’s Office, maybe…JUST MAYBE……the county will be willing to pay their price for my home! In turn, I can cut each Commissioner a nice $10,000 check for their campaigns in the next election! Guess I won’t have to live in my pickup after all! Thanks again!

  18. Charles Gardner says:

    No comment.

  19. Raul Troche says:

    I went to see Craig Coffey a couple of months ago when Ramona Zavasky, the licensing manager at the administration had violated laws againsst me. Obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence about a hearing I was a party to. When I explained the circumstances he told me, “We don’t like going after our own. Yet as county administrator that is part of his job. I then filed charges with the sheriff department. Deputy James Dopp said he would turn it in to the states attorney’s office, they won’t see me without it. Then after calling many times I was told Col Pagans was handling the matter. Again I could not get a call back from him either. Finally I called internal affairs, Copley Kim Davis. Now after leaving at least 20 messages for these individuals I still have not gotten a call returned. This began June 13, 2013. Apparently they are all part of the ” bad ‘Ol boys and girls club. What is up?

  20. Doesn't anyone CARE? says:

    What is the matter with these people…Are they Blind, ignorant? OH I know,,,they need to make more $$$$$$$’s…..

    The place is a disaster, full of asbestos and needs torn donw…NOT re-vamped or wasted with OUR TAX DOLLARS!

    Find a vacant piece of property,,sure Mr Gardner has a few..Build you Jail hose Rock, it’d be a LOT cheaper than that old Hospital…

  21. carol says:

    The county must have an abundance of money to be able to pay millions for all of these broken down, dilapidated property’s to just keep the ” good old boys ” happy, When the county already owns land , plus is the Government Building full or the new court house , i am sure they can get an office or two in there, or fix up the old police station on Old Moody Blvd, What about out by the County Jail….. no place there either?? Come on, there is plenty of choice property already owned by the county, we dont need to be spending more money just to make the local cronies happy and fill their pockets. Hope we get a vote on all of this.

  22. A.S.F. says:

    Asbestos is a tricky animal. Mesothelioma can be contracted even through second hand contact. Is Flagler County ready to monetarily defend itself against any and all lawsuits that might result from placing government employees there? Is anyone working in this building going to have to sign a waiver stating they knew the risks of working there and are contractually obligated to waive all claims for damages for any asbestos-related disease they (or loved ones) might contract through exposure in this (already known to be “sick”) building? Would anybody but a truly foolish or desperate person sign such a thing? This looks to be a can of worms in the making and you have to wonder whose short-term agenda is being served here at the risk of harm to others. Of course, some people are so narcissistic and/or greedy that they simply assume that what is best for them is, by automatic definition, what is best for the rest of the world. Any and all facts that might get in the way of that assumption would simply be ignored, buried or pushed aside.

  23. Common Sense says:

    This is the same county that can’t find the money to fix the leaking library roof, for years!

    The same county that can’t afford janitorial services to keep the fancy buildings on Rt100 clean.

    You have to wonder what Chiumento has on these politiciians?

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