No money yet from First Step, closing date in progress

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2007

A facility that was scheduled to open during the summer or the fall of 2006 is just now in the process of reaching a closing agreement.

The First Step Building, which was purchased by Professional Resources Management Psychiatric Services, LLC, in May of 2006, has not been occupied since then, nor has the county received any rent payments on the building. It was purchased with the plans to convert the building into a 36-bed child and adolescent psychiatric hospital, something that is currently not offered in this area.

Jacques Jarry, CEO of PRM, addressed the Crenshaw County Commission Monday morning during its work session and apologized for the delay in the transaction.

&#8220It has taken longer than we anticipated,” Jarry said. &#8220There has been some delay in the financing.”

&#8220The commission is sitting here with an empty building, and I know you are not happy about that,” Jarry said.

He added that things were &#8220looking positive now,” and that PRM had talked with Colonial Bank Monday morning. They had asked for a closing date on the building within the next 45 days.

&#8220I appreciate the patience the commission has shown toward us, and one way or another, we'll get this project done,” Jarry said.

He added that PRM had already paid $42,000 to an architect for renovations to the building, plans which have been approved by the state. Plus, with the renovations at Crenshaw Community Hospital, it will be without a kitchen in approximately 30 to 40 days, and the hospital will be using the First Step building for its cooking needs.

Probate Judge Jim Perdue told the commission that the closing date should come within the month of March, and Jarry added that they needed to be in the facility no later than May 1.

Rent on the building has been $1,600 a month, but the county has not received any of it. Perdue said that at the closing, the county would get the money back from the rent owed. This would be approximately $9,600.

Jarry also added that there was the possibility of a new medical center being built across the street from the First Step Building. It would serve as a 10-bed dialysis center.

Commission Chairman Ronnie Hudson said that the site had been shown to the Alabama State Health Department, and there was also the possibility of a health department being put in there in the future, turning the area into a medical complex.

Altogether, there are 10 acres on the site area.

Hudson told Jarry that when PRM received its approval from the bank, they would need to set up an appointment with Commission Attorney John Nichols.

&#8220I think this will be good for the county and will create good-paying jobs,” Jarry said. &#8220This will be something successful for the surrounding counties, too.”