The board that oversees the Osage Nation’s Wah-Zha-Zhe Health Clinic voted unanimously to buy two pieces of real estate on Aug. 25 – and in both cases paid less than the asking price or appraised values.
The Si-Si A-Pe-Txa board agreed to pay $139,500 for roughly .43 acres cattycorner from the Pawhuska Post Office and $315,000 for the existing office building and .82 acres at 1230 W. Main St. in Pawhuska.
The empty lots will become home to a warehouse for receiving clinic equipment and supplies and the office building – which currently is rented by the clinic and houses administrative offices – will ultimately house the mobile medical division of the clinic, fondly called “the mobile ministry.”
Osage County land records show that the latest sales of the eight lots that make up the empty parcel totaled about $158,000.
The office building was appraised at $395,000 and the bare land at 6th and Leahy appraised at $150,000 but the clinic managed to negotiate a lower price from both sellers – City Church of Bartlesville for the offices and CTL Investments Inc. (Cross Timbers Land) for the land.
Land records show the office building, built in 1955, sold for $212,000 in 2021 to City Church by Sheriff Eddie Virden and his wife, Scarlett Virden, a nurse practitioner who used it for a clinic.
Rogers said since the clinic leased the building, it has undergone “significant renovations. He said that rats in the attic caused about $10,000 in damage to wiring that had to be fixed, and the septic system failed, costing City Church some $38,000 to hook the building up to the sanitary sewer – work that unfolded as employees had to resort to using portable toilets. Rogers said the clinic initially offered $265,000 and after back-and-forth counter offers, landed at the $315,000.
“This is a win-win price,” Rogers said. “It’s way under appraised value and the lease will carry us to the [new clinic] construction deadline.”
The Osage health system is poised to embark on building a new $50 million clinic on Main Street in Pawhuska on the site of the former Safeway grocery store and Moore’s Hardware, both of which have been razed. Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 and to be completed in the summer of 2024.
Health Board chair Cindra Shangreau said that while the prices seem rather high, she noted that land prices in Pawhuska have skyrocketed thanks to the Osage Nation, Ree Drummond and her Pioneer Woman Mercantile improvements, and the upcoming “Killers of the Flower Moon” film.
Board vice president Michael Bristow said he was thankful the Osage Nation didn’t fall prey to the usurious prices that have been exacted in the past: “There’s been a lot of speculation about the ‘Osage Tax’ in Pawhuska.”