Brandywine Valley SPCA is new Safe Haven owner

Organization has 45 days to close on $880,000 purchase
June 12, 2018

Brandywine Valley SPCA is the new owner of the former Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary in Georgetown, after winning the 11,500-square-foot facility at auction.

Brandywine won the bidding with an $800,000 bid, which combined with a 10 percent auctioneer’s fee, puts the purchase price at $880,000. Brandywine Valley SPCA must pay 10 percent of the cost up front and then has 45 days from approval of the bid to close. The organization plans to convert the facility into a rescue and rehabilitation center to serve newborns, cruelty victims and disaster survivors. Brandywine Valley SPCA plans to spend an additional $500,000 to rehabilitate the building, which has sat vacant since November 2013. Spokeswoman Linda Torelli said Brandywine Valley SPCA needs an additional $200,000 in order to reopen the facility.

CEO Adam Lamb said, “We’re really excited we were the winning bidder today. We can’t wait to see what we are able to do to support the animals and the community.”

Lamb said he was happy with where the bidding came in at, and that his organization’s use of the building is the best possible use. He said fundraising will continue through the next month or so to close on the building and make the improvements necessary to reopen. 

The June 9 auction saw only one bidder other than Brandywine Valley. The building itself is in good shape considering how long it has been closed; there are holes some of the drywall, quite a few cobwebs and a bit of graffiti on one of the doors. A Safe Haven brochure could still be found on the floor and the former cattery still smells like cats. The building, built for nearly $3 million with money from U.S. Department of Agriculture, is LEED certified and is in an AR-1 zone. 

After Safe Haven closed in November 2013, the shelter filed for bankruptcy in January 2014. The building reverted back to USDA and the bankruptcy proceeding was closed in July 2017.