Potential Valley View sale nears next step

HOLLIDAYSBURG – The potential sale of Valley View Home could begin moving forward next week, after Friday’s deadline passes for responses from interested bidders.

Commissioners expect to receive information next week from Marcus & Millichap, the Chicago firm hired to market the county’s nursing home, Commissioners Chairman Terry Tomassetti said Tuesday.

In the past month, he said 14 tours of the home were scheduled.

The deadline for submitting responses to the firm’s Chicago office is 5 p.m. Friday, Central Standard Time, and those responses usually arrive at the last minute, Marcus & Millichap senior associate Joshua Jandris said Tuesday.

Once the deadline passes, the firm will compile information about the submissions and identify the strongest offers. On the recommendation of Marcus & Millichap, commissioners set a minimum bid of $11.25 million and included a negotiating process so bidders can increase their initial offers.

“We have set up a process that should allow for maximum bidding,” Tomassetti said Tuesday.

That process, as described in the request for proposals (RFP), should also provide commissioners with information about the bidders and their background in operating nursing home facilities.

“We may go visit their facilities, too,” Tomassetti said.

In late December, commissioners voted to have Marcus & Millichap begin distributing the RFPs to buy Valley View Home. While Tomassetti and fellow commissioner Diane Meling supported the action as a way to identify potential buyers and what they are willing to pay, Commissioner Ted Beam Jr. said he preferred the county retain the home.

Tomassetti, who favors selling the home, predicts that continued ownership will lead to real estate tax increases to make up for the home’s shortfall in support of the county’s pension plan.

Meanwhile, the Altoona division of the American Youth Soccer Organization, a longtime user and the developer of the soccer fields on the county-owned ground, is continuing its effort to build public sentiment against selling the grounds with the home.

Through an online petition and during a recent soccer tournament, AYSO has accumulated more than 1,000 signatures, Regional Commissioner Faber Moyer said Tuesday.

After AYSO representatives raised objections to including the soccer grounds in the potential sale, commissioners agreed to put a clause in the RFP, asking potential bidders to continue leasing the ground to AYSO through June 30, 2014.

While that clause is subject to negotiation with a potential buyer, commissioners said Tuesday that they expect all potential buyers to agree substantially with the provisions they established for the request for proposals.

There can be some “minor tweaking,” but no significant changes, Tomassetti said.

“There should be several offers that meet 100 percent of what [commissioners] asked for in the RFP,” Jandis said.