The Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership is close to owning an empty field with a lot of history.
Philipsburg Area Hospital closed in April 2006.
It sat empty and alone on a hill in Rush Township, overlooking Philipsburg, waiting for the state to decide what to do with it.
In 2014, the state decided, awarding a demolition bid to Pittsburgh-area firm Phase One Development. Tearing down the complex cost $2.6 million, but after years of trying to find a buyer, the state thought it was the right thing.
Troy Thompson, spokesman for the state Department of General Services, said Pennsylvania had owned the building since the “early 20th century,” so long that he couldn’t quite pin down a year. It had been the Philipsburg State General Hospital until the 1990s, when Pennsylvania started to get out of the hospital business and closed the doors for the first time.
They reopened when a group that believed the Moshannon Valley needed health care opportunities resuscitated it, changing the name to Philipsburg Area Hospital and trying to keep it in operation. It worked for a while, but when it was finally pulled off life support, the facility was in debt.
But what do you do with an old hospital and nursing school? Not much.
“The building had become a negative asset,” Thompson said. “It had to be demolished.”
The empty land, about 15 acres in total, is now being picked up by the partnership for $150,000, according to DGS.
MVEDP Executive Director Stan LaFuria confirmed that the agreement was executed on Tuesday. The sale, he said, is a legislative process because of the state ownership.
The partnership owns other properties that it uses to try to bring new business opportunities to Centre County, namely the Moshannon Valley Enterprise Center, just around the corner and down the street from the hospital property, and the Moshannon Valley Regional Business Park on U.S. Route 322 east of Philipsburg.
State Rep. Scott Conklin said that his office has worked with the MVEDP through multiple governors on the project, including working closely with Republican DCED Secretary Alan Walker on a resolution.
The price reflects the appraised value of the property, he said.
LaFuria said he hopes to have the property provide similar space for incoming or developing business.
“Economic development and job creation is the goal,” he said.