No decision on Belhaven hospital demolition

Published 2:41 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2016

RALEIGH — The fate of Belhaven’s old hospital building remains unknown.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Gregory P. McGuire heard arguments at the Wake County Courthouse regarding the decision to demolish the hospital building and whether another injunction should be ordered to halt proceedings.

Superior Court Judge Cy Grant issued a 10-day temporary restraining order on Nov. 28 to stop the demolition until the complaints were heard in court. The restraining order was then extended further after the court date was pushed back by a couple of weeks to Wednesday.

The order will remain in place until the court reaches a decision.

The lawsuit made it to Business Court in Raleigh after eight members of Pantego Creek LLC, which owns the hospital property, filed claims against the LLC’s four managers, alleging they misrepresented information about the hospital building to sway the membership to vote in favor of the demolition.

Pantego Creek’s members voted to demolish the building in early November, and the managers most recently rejected two offers on the property — one of which was presented by Pungo Medical Center in the amount of $500,000. Pungo Medical is the nonprofit formed to oversee the reopening of the hospital.

The nonprofit then made a larger offer of $665,000 after referring to a recent property appraisal, but that was rejected, as well, according to Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal.

“I have no confidence in our judicial system, so who knows what will happen,” O’Neal said Wednesday. “We showed evidence of misrepresentations by the managers.”

Since the former Vidant Pungo Hospital closed on July 1, 2014, supporters of the Save Our Hospital campaign have fought to reopen its doors. However, plans have stalled as Pungo Medical has failed to obtain the property.

There is no word on the exact date when the court hearings will continue, but O’Neal said it would be after the holidays.