Base buyer meets with officials

SUGAR GROVE — A Los Angeles based financial advisor representing Robert Pike of Mellivora Partners in Birmingham, Alabama — the winning auction bidder for the former Navy base in Pendleton County — has visited the base twice and met with several regional healthcare providers.

Matthew Roiz, a behavioral healthcare strategic growth expert, formerly of Focus in Transition, LLC, has a decade of experience as a professional in the finance industry, according to an internet resume.

Roiz has significant experience as both a financial and investment analyst and in providing capital markets and corporate strategy to investors and clients. His specialties include corporate development, strategy, mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, behavioral treatment and rehabilitation.

Roiz served in the explosive ordinance disposal unit with the United States Navy for six years before graduating magnum cum laude from the University of Southern California in 2000.

Roiz recently e-mailed the Pendleton County Commission that he represented Mellivora Partners and had visited the former base on Dec. 23.

Commission President Gene McConnell returned correspondence with a request for further information concerning the intended use of the base; whether the group had a tax-free designation; the expected size of the workforce and whether it would be local; types of employment; an operational timeline; and any need from local government.

Roiz replied he would answer those questions later.

On Wednesday, Roiz, accompanied by several associates, met with Craig Curtis of the Potomac Highlands Guild and other regional healthcare providers to tour the base.

Curtis, who had not been on the base for some time, enjoyed the tour of the base.

“I was very impressed!” he said.

Curtis met with the professionals accompanying Roiz and was given a presentation on their specialties. He understood Roiz was looking to help veterans as well as active duty military personnel and local residents. Roiz indicated the company planned to work with families on the grounds. Curtis will meet with Roiz and additional professionals at a later date.

“Roiz was very cordial. He’s anxious to get things started. The program sounds like a real positive thing with a quality service,” Curtis said.

Potomac Highlands offers outpatient counseling in substance abuse and mental health in Grant, Hardy and Pendleton counties.

The United States General Services Administration “officially accepted” a high bid of $4,010,009.90 from Robert Pike on Dec. 1 for the Sugar Grove Station, according to Sherrie Taylor, acting regional public affairs officer.

Pike is “working with the Mellivora Partners from Birmingham, Alabama to repurpose the 122-acre facility into a healthcare campus focusing on the needs of both active duty military personnel and the residents of West Virginia,” Taylor said.

McConnell has said he is interested in learning more about the healthcare organization. He was unable to wait Wednesday to meet Roiz, whose late plane held him up several hours.

“This service would be good for our service personnel and veterans and also for West Virginia, which desperately needs this kind of substance abuse service,” McConnell said.

The 122-acre property was formerly a Navy Information Operations Command  base with approximately 445,135 square feet of improvements, including 90 dwelling units, along with various office, maintenance and support facilities built in the late 1950s to the present.

It was fully maintained and occupied by military personnel until Sept. 30, 2015, when the Navy decommissioned it.

In September 2015, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin turned down the base which the Division of Corrections wanted to repurpose into a women’s prison.

In February 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services assessed the base as a temporary shelter for unaccompanied refugee children, but did not announce any decision.

The GSA offered the former Navy base through an online auction which closed on July 25. An acceptable offer was awarded on July 26. Subsequently the GSA announced without further explanation on Sept. 13 that the two high bidders were “unable to complete the transaction.”

The GSA re-offered the base by conducting a sealed bid competitive sale in which bidders mailed in bids and bid deposits to GSA prior to the designated bid opening date and time, Taylor said at the time.

Bid had to be accompanied by 10 percent of the offered bid earnest money remitted by certified or cashier’s check. The terms were “all cash, as is. Balance due within 60 days after bid acceptance.”

Unlike prior considerations by the state for correctional purposes or non-profit organizations for educational or health uses, Pike is free to develop and utilize the property for a wide range of possibilities without deed restrictions tied to a program or use restrictions for a period of years, Taylor said.