City, Family Care Network, delay sale of Gateway property until 2021

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The city of Blaine and Family Care Network (FCN) agreed to delay closing on the sale of a 2.5-acre city-owned parcel at the former airport site until next year.

Blaine City Council voted at its July 27 meeting to extend FCN’s feasibility period on the property until December 31, 2020. The closing date would be 30 days after the feasibility period.

The Bellingham-based healthcare provider signed a purchase and sale agreement in October 2019 on a 2.5-acre parcel at the city’s Gateway development site. At that time, the company planned to build an approximately $3.5 million facility that would employ 30-50 and provide outpatient care for about 10,000, as well as urgent care and some lab services. The agreed upon price for the parcel, which had not yet been legally defined, was approximately $337,590.

According to the purchase and sale agreement, FCN originally had 90 days after October 2, 2019, to complete a feasibility study for the property.

FCN president Dr. Rodney Anderson said in March 2020 that the site could be complete by early 2021. But Covid-19 has squashed that timeline and the company wants to delay closing to assess the future of healthcare.

Anderson said the company remains “very committed to providing care in Blaine,” but as Covid-19 has impacted its business, FCN needs more time to determine what to do on the site. He said the coming months should show the company more about the future of health care.

Anderson said it’s not a question of whether the company wants that site, but a question of what it should build there. Much of the company’s work with patients is now online or over the telephone, and Anderson told council he expects some of it to stay that way.

“It would be difficult to overstate the impacts Covid has had on us,” he said. “Clearly the world where everyone came in for everything is not the world of the future.”

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