by KATE SHUNNEY
Morgan County’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) board has approved a $200,000 contract with Lotus Healthcare Group for the Maryland-based company to purchase the old Bath District School on the edge of downtown Berkeley Springs. The company has said they want to turn the building into a residential drug treatment center. The sale is pending the company’s approval of changes made to the sales agreement by the county.
The decision to accept a revised sales contract with the company came at a September 29 EDA meeting. Board member Ryan Rebant was the lone vote against the purchase contract, according to EDA Director Daryl Cowles.
EDA members made changes to the initial purchase agreement presented by Lotus to the county.
Cowles said two significant changes are a deed restriction and a right of first refusal.
Board members have restricted the use of the former school building and 3.2-acre parcel of land so Lotus Healthcare cannot run an outpatient drug treatment center there. This would block the company from running a methadone or suboxone clinic on the corner lot.
EDA members have also said they want the first right to purchase the property back if Lotus abandons their plans to run a treatment center and wants to put the school property up for sale again.
Cowles said if Lotus Healthcare approves changes to the purchase agreement, that approval will kick off a 90 to 120-day “due diligence” period during which the company or its contractors can take a thorough look at the building, which dates from the early 1900s, and the surrounding property.
The sale, if it goes through, is a cash, as-is sale, said Cowles. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Economic Development Authority, which agreed to take on marketing and sale of the building for the Morgan County Commission.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the EDA is on October 27.