The St. Joe Company's bid to retake ownership of the old Gulf Pines Hospital site in Port St. Joe has now moved to federal court.
The lawsuit, filed last year in circuit court in Gulf County, was transferred to the federal courts Wednesday. The 26 page complaint says St. Joe's predecessors gave the 2.17 acre campus on Highway 98 to the City of Port St Joe in August of 1940.
The property was to be used as the site of a hospital. Included in the deed transaction was a reverter clause, which basically said the property would revert back to St. Joe when, and if, it was no longer used as a hospital site.
Over the years, the city granted title to the property to several firms, which operated hospitals on the site. The end came five years ago when the financially-troubled Gulf Pines facility closed and went into bankruptcy.
Without maintenance, the facility is now in declining condition and redevelopment leaders in Port St Joe are concerned it could become a blight on the community.