BMH should ‘take a loss’

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

It was a bit disheartening to see only 20 people at Monday night’s meeting with Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi and city and county officials to discuss the future disposition of the current Baptist facility once the hospital moves into its new facility.

Those who spoke mostly asked Baptist to consider using the facility for a one-stop shopping for nonprofits, a teaching hospital or a senior citizen affordable housing project. Baptist needed to hear from more of our residents.

The property is 13 acres, a stone’s throw from the Square and just a few blocks from the new facility. The hospital spent $60 million buying out of its lease with the city and county in 2012.

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If they hope to get back any of that investment, they’re going to want to sell that property for millions of dollars. And who can afford such a lofty piece of property? Developers.

Developers build big things — shopping centers, apartment complexes, condominiums — or maybe all of that in one large mixed-use development.

Currently most of the big-time developers investing in Oxford seem to be building student-housing development, and that is probably the last thing those living in the neighborhoods surrounding the facility would want to go there.

Baptist has spent $300-plus million on the new facility after spending the $60 million to purchase the current facility. Money doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for Baptist. With this in mind, we encourage Baptist to consider “taking a loss” on the current facility and not try to get top dollar for the property; but instead invest in Oxford in other ways and sell the land to the not-necessarily-lowest-but-best buyer who will build something BMH and all of Oxford and Lafayette County could be proud of.