Plans to reopen shuttered Central Texas VA hospital sputter

The project's website is still under construction.
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MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) Not much progress has been made five months after the sale of the shuttered Marlin VA hospital to a group of investors who planned to reopen the facility as a rehabilitation center for veterans from across the country.

The vacant hospital was sold in June to Sterling REIT, and a local board was created to get the National Campus for Veterans Transition off the ground.

At the time of the sale, officials said they hoped veterans could move in as early as August, but five months later the grass is overgrown, the lights are off and some residents are questioning whether the project is dead on arrival.

Several elected officials and a board member, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said the project is still alive, but say the onus for raising funds for renovations and figuring out how to connect veterans with the facility has shifted to the local board.

They say they are working on their own development plan, and expressed frustration with the developers who bought the facility.

“Sterling Trust, did not have a workable plan to bring the veterans center here; that's why we are having to come up with our own plan,” one board member said.

The Thomas Connally Marlin Veterans Affairs facility officially opened in September 1950, but was closed as part of a consolidation of VA services in 2005.

Two years later the state purchased the building with plans to convert it into a 200-bed hospital for inmates of women’s prison units in Gatesville, but the plans never materialized.

The facility was handed over to the Texas General Land Office in July 2016 to begin appraisals.

Sterling Real Estate Development Trust accepted the appraisal and agreed to pay $15 million for the facility, which it said it planned to reopen as a rehabilitation center for veterans returning from war with “serious problems.”