Magnolia City Council approves sale of former Blewster home, Home Health clinic for $70Kby J.D. Bailey on 10/26/21
The Magnolia City Council on Monday unanimously approved the sale of the former Magnolia Regional Medical Center Home Health clinic at 833 N. Washington to local business owner Laura Cowell. The property, which was also a residential address of former Magnolia Chamber of Commerce director and First National Bank president W.C. Blewster and his wife, Agnes, until 1997, was selected for a high bid of $70,000.
The deal still needs to be closed upon in the next 30 days and a final resolution on the matter next month, but Crowell’s previous plans called for a major transformation of the property to serve as the local Edward D. Jones financial planner’s new office location. The Magnolia resident currently operates a business location at an E. Main Street shopping center near the intersection of N. Dudney Street.
The city-owned N. Washington Street property was initially set to be sold in September, but a three-week public bidding period was placed on the project by the Magnolia City Council to block any perceived notions of unfairness or favoritism from the local governing board. Crowell, who initially wished to purchase the former MRMC Home Health clinic, is the wife of sitting Magnolia Alderman Steve Crowell. And although the city official was not present during discussions on the property sale this week nor last month, the City Council still elected to place a specified waiting period for any other public bids.
“I think we’ve done our due diligence and done all that we can do,” said Magnolia Alderman Jamie Waller on Monday. “Mrs. Crowell’s bid has the higher bid, and will probably be the better suit for the city anyway.”
Magnolia City Inspector David Nelson stated this week that the property had received five calls -- one after the Oct. 18 deadline -- during the bidding period, and only one party wished to view the parcel.
“Not a whole lot of action on it -- for whatever reason,” he said.
The only other bid on the property came from Magnolia Resident Kayla Higgs for $30,000.
Public records do not indicate when the home was built or its assessed value, but they do show that the property was sold to Magnolia Hospital in 1997 for $183,000.
With the sale now approved by the Council, the property is expected to be rejuvenated and remodeled over the coming months into a vibrant new office space. The building, which has been used only for storage by MRMC over the past few years, had become somewhat overgrown and unsightly.
Crowell, ahead of the potential sale of the property last month, told magnoliareporter.com, “It is a lovely home with so much potential and would fit my needs for expansion of personnel and additional space. I intend to honor the history of the home with a tribute area to the home and the Blewster family. We are very excited to have the opportunity to improve the lot and keep the area growing with homes that are well cared for.”
The City Council will still need to vote again on the final closing of the N. Washington property in November, but the move should be all but a technicality by then, according to advice from the city attorney’s office. The mayor also noted that he will double-check with Crowell to see if her plans are still set to proceed as originally planned last month.