By LISA MACNEIL
With what Chairman John Mitted described as a “vigorous unanimous vote,” at the June 23, 2020 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the sale of the property commonly known as “Pinebrook,” the building that currently houses a Veterans Administration (VA) medical center. The building was eyed by the county for government and legal offices in 2018. The revenue generated for the county will be $2.8 million, the appraised value of the property.
The Veterans Administration currently leases a 10,000 square foot portion of the 45,000 square foot building located on the 9.1 acres, however will purchase the entire building, and plans to expand its service area. Built in 1983, the building will need repairs and updates, which Molle reports will be addressed by the VA.
County Real Estate Attorney Paul Molle gave a brief but interesting history of the building, which was once owned by Lyke’s hospital. In the 90s, the hospital ceased operations, and its buildings and assets were purchased by Hernando County, which included Pinebrook. Sometime in the late 90s, the VA began its operations at that property.
Molle reported that a property appraisal was performed by the Sarasota affiliate of the International firm of
Colliers, and found that repairs and upgrades could cost approximately an additional $1 million, which the VA will be undertaking. The closing for the transaction is expected to take place at the end of August, however, Molle expressed the desire to push the closing up to the end of July, citing motivation by the VA, and also uncertainty in the market caused by COVID-19.
All of the commissioners supported the sale. The County Veterans Affairs office could possibly retain an office in the VA center after the sale. That is currently in discussion.
Commissioner John Allocco also noted that the purchase could result in added convenience to people who use the VA. When services are expanded, it could mean fewer trips to Tampa, the next largest center in the area.