SEARHC operates its long-term care unit in the former Sitka Community Hospital building. SEARHC bought the business in 2019, and the deal included a 5-year lease of the property with the city (KCAW/Rose)

The Sitka Assembly has taken another next step toward selling the former Sitka Community Hospital building. When the Assembly met Tuesday night (5-11-21), it unanimously approved the final “request for proposals,” seeking bids to purchase or lease the property. 

The 22-page document outlines what the city is looking for in a competitive proposal. It took several months for city staff to develop the document with Assembly feedback. This spring, the city held two town halls and published a survey seeking public input on a possible sale. At a meeting in late April, the Assembly reviewed a draft of the RFP, but they were still missing a property value assessment.

Last night with an appraisal in hand, the group went behind closed doors for over an hour in an executive session to discuss how the property value would factor into the RFP. When the group reconvened, it unanimously approved the RFP, but did not deliberate further in public.

In an interview with KCAW, City Administrator John Leach said the changes to the document were around not disclosing the appraised value in the RFP.  Leach said the assembly wants proposers to do the same amount of research and provide their best offer for property.

The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) bought Sitka Community Hospital in 2019, but the city still owns the property. SEARHC is two years into a five year lease of the building where it currently houses long-term care. Last fall, the consortium expressed interest in purchasing the property as part of its planned $300 million hospital expansion.

The deadline to submit a proposal is 60 days after the RFP is issued. Then the assembly will meet again to consider the proposals and pick a bidder.  

*Editor’s Note: The RFP linked in the story is a draft document. The final RFP will likely be published sometime next week. KCAW will add a link to the final document when it is available.