County ready to receive rent for office space

Bartholomew County has found itself in the landlord business.

Through a land swap last fall with Columbus Regional Health, the county government became owners of a medical office building on Fox Pointe Drive that houses part of the county health department. As part of that swap, the county also now owns two other offices in the building that are leased to companies.

Yesterday morning the county commissioners set up a new fund to receive those rental payments and to pay out expenses related to the rental properties, says Commissioners President Carl Lienhoop.

Lienhoop says that since the swap, the rent has still been going to the hospital and that money will be transferred to the county now that the fund has been established. The exact amount of those rental payments aren’t yet known by the county, but the county will be responsible for the property taxes on those two offices, as well as paying an owner’s association fee of more than $5,000 a year to the office park, Lienhoop said.

Last fall, the county swapped the former annex property on State Street for the office building that the hospital owned on Fox Pointe Drive. Prior to the swap, the county had been renting the office space from the hospital.

The nursing division of the health department had been located in the State Street building, which used to be part of the State Street School, until that building was demolished by the county. Originally, the county commissioners had planned to build a new annex building at that location, but county financial problems led to that plan being nixed.

The county also had to find room for the Purdue Extension Office, which had been in the annex building. The county is buying the former Premier Ag headquarters building on Marr Road to house those offices.