new admin building

Garfield County Commissioners advance land swap with Valley View Hospital Association

County to acquire two downtown buildings

August 5, 2013

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – A groundbreaking land swap with decades of history behind it will net two of the largest employers in Glenwood Springs the property needed by each for future public use.

Monday, August 5, 2013, the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners approved a contract to transfer the county-owned land under Valley View Hospital to the Valley View Hospital Association, and, in exchange, the hospital association will convey the building and land it owns at 110 8th Street, Glenwood Springs, and present $1.1 million in funds to the county. The county will immediately use those proceeds to purchase a second building at 810 Pitkin Avenue, Glenwood Springs. The balance of the proceeds will be used for capital improvements to these buildings as needed for county use.

The 2013 assessed valuation of the land the county owns under the hospital is $1.75 million (the county does not own the improvements), and the Assessor’s valuation of the downtown property and building that Valley View Hospital Association owns is $1.86 million.

The deal involves negotiations between the two entities that began at least as early as 1953, when the county sold the original property on which the hospital would be built to the hospital for $1. The deed contains restrictive language that the property will revert to the county if it ceased to be used for “public hospital purposes”.

valley view hospital
The property under Valley View Hospital will transfer from the county to Valley View Hospital Association ownership.

In 1978, the hospital sold the property back to the county and entered into a 50-year lease with the county. In 1980, Valley View Hospital administrators requested use of more land near the hospital. It is believed that at that time, county officials suggested that the hospital purchase land downtown and trade it to the county in exchange for the land under the hospital.

In 1985, the parties entered into a new lease, replacing the 1978 lease of the county-owned land, increasing the lease term to 99 years and rent payments to $100 per year, of which all payments were made in advance. The current lease remains in effect until 2076. Continuing status quo under this lease is of little actual value to either entity, and an ineffective use of assets for both.

In October of 2011, the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners held a joint meeting with the Valley View Hospital Association Board of Trustees and reached an agreement in principle for the property transfer. “We set up a general agreement to proceed,” said Tom Jankovsky, Garfield County commissioner. “We did not set up specific terms or final numbers. The deal on the table now sets up a formal contractual arrangement which will greatly benefit both entities.”

The deal will assist the organizations in providing ongoing community services. Garfield County needs staff workspace, because current buildings are at capacity. The hospital-owned building in Glenwood is not only in the downtown core area, but is adjacent to the Garfield County Administration Building, which will reduce the cost of infrastructure and benefit county operations.

For Valley View Hospital, the deal will help the non-profit continue to provide health care services to Roaring Fork Valley residents. If the deal were to cost the hospital additional funds, higher costs would be passed along to hospital users, increasing the community burden during a time of health care reform.

The county’s ownership in other properties near the hospital – the Garfield County Public Health building and the Childhelp River Bridge Center, and related properties at that location – is unaffected by this transaction.

In addition, the county will use $865,000 of the proceeds from its transaction with Valley View to purchase the property and 4,608-square-foot building at 810 Pitkin Avenue. Its use and that of the 8,288-square-foot 110 8th Street property will be determined in a facilities master plan. Both buildings are adjacent to the County Administration Building in downtown Glenwood Springs. Following a transition period for existing tenants, the nearly 13,000 square feet of additional space will be used to house administrative departments.

“Our first goal is to limit building improvement costs and to use the balance of funds from this transaction for those improvements, so we are not using tax dollars, or in any case, minimizing their use, for short-term capital improvements,” said Andrew Gorgey, Garfield County manager. “It’s also about location. The commissioners are acquiring assets in proximity to assets we already own, assembling parcels for immediate use and with an eye to the future.”

Since unifying ownership last fall of county-owned land at 1102 Grand Avenue, in Glenwood Springs, with a building purchased from the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, the county determined the costs for county digital network expansion outside the downtown core may be prohibitive for full county staff use at that location. The county is pursuing a likely agreement with the University of Denver Masters in Social Work program to utilize office space in this building.

The county has also today taken possession of the commercial building at 716 Colorado Avenue, which as previously announced, will be removed to make way for additional surface parking this fall. City and county officials have agreed to conduct a joint meeting later this year to discuss long-term options for this property.