Passages buys Lehmberg building

COLUMBIA CITY — The Lehmberg Building in Columbia City is changing hands.Attorney Peter Mallers of Beers, Mallers, Backs and Salin of Fort Wayne appeared before the Whitley County Board of Commissioners Tuesday to announce the building, located at 333 North Oak Street and owned by Whitley Memorial Hospital, Inc., will be sold to Passages, Inc.According to Mallers, the bylaws of Whitley Memorial Hospital Inc. require the consent of the county commissioners before the sale of any of its real estate.Mallers said Parkview Health Systems purchased Whitley Memorial Hospital in 1995, which had been a county-owned hospital prior to the purchase.As a result of the sale, Whitley Memorial Hospital, Inc. was formed and the hospital deeded the properties to the newly-formed corporation.Mallers told the commissioners the sale of the Lehmberg building is the first of a “two-step process,” which eventually will also include the site of the current Parkview Whitley Hospital when the facility is moved to its new location on U.S. 30 and state Route 205.The commissioners approved the sale, but commission vice chair Don Amber abstained.“I am a Parkview Health Systems employee, so I will not be voting on this issue,” he said.