Rest Haven-York's lease ends Friday and, if it's up to the building's owners, the 125-resident nursing and rehab facility will be forced to move from its Spring Garden Township home of 50 years.
But Rest Haven operators are fighting eviction from 1050 S. George St., a property into which they say they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.
A resolution seems unlikely outside of Common Pleas Court, where documents filed by Rest Haven last week show the building's owner, a group of investors called South George Street Corp., wants to terminate the nursing home's lease at the end of the month so it can sell the property to another nursing care provider -- Connecticut-based Progressive Healthcare Management.
The filing requests an injunction to stop the eviction and the sale of the facility, said Rest Haven attorney Eric Suter.
"It was always the plan that Rest Haven-York would be there forever ... from the inception of the relationship in 1962," Suter said. "That's why we have first right of refusal (to purchase the building). Rest Haven is ready, willing and able to buy the property."
Old agreement: Rest Haven is family-owned and employs 250, Suter said. While the current lease is month-to-month, the nursing facility's owners are committed to the site and long ago signed an agreement with the landlord to have the first option to buy the building, he said. They always intended to exercise that right, Suter said.
The amount of the Progressive deal hasn't been made public, and Suter said he's "not exactly sure" why the building's owners want to sell the building to someone else.
The corporation would likely make more money selling the property to Progressive because Rest Haven's
agreement says it's entitled to a discount for improvements made to the facility over the years it has occupied it.
"We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars," Suter said.
The corporation contends Rest Haven is in default of its lease for failing to maintain the property, "but they did not specify any item we failed to maintain," Suter said. "Rest Haven is absolutely not in default."
Attorneys and representatives for South George Street Corp. didn't return several calls for comment.
Arguments will be aired during an injunction hearing set for 2 p.m. Dec. 10 in Common Pleas Court. While that's 10 days after the corporation ordered Rest Haven "to quit the premises," Rest Haven will continue to operate as normal while the courts hear the matter, Suter said.
The Dec. 10 hearing will only determine whether an injunction is granted "to keep things the same" until a hearing is scheduled on the first right of refusal issue, Suter said. If the injunction is denied, the corporation can proceed with eviction process, which would take several months, he said.
While its license to operate could be in jeopardy if it loses the building, Suter said Rest Haven will "in a worst-case scenario" figure out a way to continue the care of its residents.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffma firstname.lastname@example.org.