Embattled Doctor Wins Auction For Former Century Hospital Building
February 17, 2017
The Century doctor that battled the state to operate out of the town’s former hospital has now purchased the building at auction.
Dr. Christian Bachman’s Mayo Street Medical, Inc. was the sole bidder on the facility Thursday, according to Jason Mahon, public information specialist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, owners of the former hospital. Bachman bid $21,000 for the 1.69 acre property and 24,000 square foot building at 7600 Mayo Street, well above the $13,500 minimum bid.
The DEP served Mayo Street Medical a cease and desist order keeping the public out of the building and effectively closing the medical office in February 2016. Since that time, Bachman has continued to make house calls to see his patients.
“I believe this ordeal finally has a happy ending,” Bachman told NorthEscambia.com Thursday evening as he was driving between house calls. He expects to repair code violations and make tornado repairs to the building quickly, with hopes that his medical practice will be open again within about six months. He also expects to re-open his research laboratory, which was heavily damaged a year ago in Century’s EF-3 tornado.
Now that he will own the building, Bachman also said he’s considered making space available in the facility for other businesses, hopefully creating additional jobs.
Bachman’s 50 Year Lease
In a letter dated August 26, 2015, Century Health Care Access (CHCA) and Dr. Bachman, president of CHCA and physician for Mayo Street Medical, were ordered to vacate the facility by September 30, 2015, by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The eviction date passed, with Bachman and his medical practice receiving much media attention that began with a NorthEscambia.com story. As a result, Bachman said, DEP shifted their position, which at first seemed like a positive breakthrough. But with time, he said he realized it appeared the DEP simply changed their strategy to making “impossible demands”.
The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office also demanded changes that the doctor said were impracticable to impossible. Demands included repairs to large areas of ceilings that were patched by DEP or their contractors in the 1990’s to install a new fire sprinkler system. He said it was not possible to obtain the permits for the work in a short time period, much less make the costly repairs.
Bachman refused to budge, continuing to operate his medical practice, seeing patients regardless of their ability to pay and even making house calls.
On Friday afternoon, February 12, 2016, law enforcement officers served Bachman a cease and desist order that demanded that no member of the public be allowed inside the building due to fire code violations.
A Stormy End
Bachman said the cease and desist order from the State Fire Marshal’s Office was served on him about 3:45 to 4:00 on that Friday afternoon, with a 72-hour provision to comply. Almost exactly to the minute 72 hours later, the most powerful tornado to hit Escambia County in 45 years roared through Century with winds over 150 mph, and wiped out numerous homes in Century around Bachman’s office. The hospital building suffered damage, but the structure survived intact.
Bachman told NorthEscambia.com at the time that he found great irony in the fact that the building was deemed unsafe, but it was the very place many Century residents ran to for shelter during and after the EF-3 tornado.
When Gov. Rick Scott toured the tornado damage in Century in late Feburary 2016, it presented Bachman with a sudden and unexpected opportunity to discuss his battles with state government face to face with the state’s top elected official.
As Scott walked along Mayo and Church streets, toward the old Century Hospital, he had been briefed on the facility and Bachman’s plight. As Scott and his entourage continued to walk down Church Street, just outside the boarded-up windows of Bachman’s research lab, Bachman grabbed the chance to plead his case and hand over a support petition.
At the time Bachman was served the cease and desist order by DEP, he was the only doctor in Century. A pediatrician has since located in Century.
Pictured above and below: The former Century Hospital on Mayo Street as seen Wednesday, January 25. Pictured above inset: Dr. Christian Bachman pleads his case with Gov. Rick Scott on the street outside the former Century Hospital.