In a last-minute deal, a small group of investors and landowners has offered to buy Frazer Farm, 200 acres of farmland owned by Loudoun Healthcare Inc. at Routes 709 and 726 just south of Hamilton.
The offer was made after reports that Loudoun Healthcare officials were negotiating to sell the land to a residential developer to raise cash in their efforts to recover from a $27 million deficit.
Hospital spokeswoman Linda Roberts declined to comment on the group's offer, saying, "We are still in contract negotiations."
Howard Rogers, a longtime Loudoun County resident whose own farm borders the land, said Friday that he and other investors proposed to buy Frazer Farm for $1.5 million. He said the property likely would be divided among its owners and portions of it turned into low-density housing and other parts kept for farming.
The investors "are people who are putting their money where their beliefs are," Rogers said. "They appreciate the land and its usefulness."
Among them is orthopedic surgeon James T. Gable, incoming chief of staff at Loudoun Hospital and a joint master of Loudoun Hunt West, which fox-hunts in the area around Frazer Farm. He said he hoped Frazer Farm would be preserved "for many years to come. . . . We wanted to get in and try to avoid this land being developed if possible," he said.
Rogers said he made an unsuccessful bid on the land in August. In November, it was put on the market, and hospital officials said they received several offers, resulting recently in a pending contract with a developer.
Neighbors of Frazer Farm in the tiny nearby town of Lincoln said they flooded the hospital with calls last week, protesting the sale. They expressed concern about increased traffic along narrow, country roads and preservation of the area's history.
William Penn Frazer, of Hamilton, donated the land to the hospital in 1992. There were no conditions attached to the donation, which the hospital was free to use as it wished, according to his wife. The farm is divided by Taylor Road (Route 726) south of Sands Road (Route 709). It is bordered mostly by farmlands and a small subdivision to the northeast.
As part of its cost-cutting efforts in the last six months, Loudoun Healthcare closed its urgent care facility in Purcellville, angering many western Loudoun residents who used it instead of making the longer trip to the new hospital east of Leesburg.
Last week, a doctor in a private practice announced that he will reopen the urgent care center in Purcellville in mid-January. It will be called Medics USA-Purcellville.
Khurram Rashid, an obstetrician-gynecologist with offices in Purcellville and Sterling, will lease the 2 1/2-year-old facility. Rashid said he decided to take over the center after he heard several complaints from residents about the lack of medical services in the area.
"Closing that center created a vacuum as far as [immediate] medical services were concerned out here," said Rashid, who lives in Paeonian Springs. "I was in a position to be of some help."
He said he would close his current Purcellville office and use space in his new urgent care center. The center's hours have not been determined, he said.
Loudoun Healthcare shut the Purcellville center in November after it lost more than $660,000 last year. It treated 14 to 16 patients a day--not enough to justify the cost, according to Joseph A. Ruffolo, Loudoun Healthcare's interim chief executive.