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Auction could determine fate of old Meriden hospital

MERIDEN — Two years after initially being scheduled to be auctioned off in foreclosure, the former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital building is again scheduled to be sold later this month.

An Oct. 26 date has been set for the foreclosure sale of the building at 1 King Place, off Cook Avenue. The owner, Bradley Research Center LLC, had defaulted on its loan agreement in April 2011 and owed $9.4 million at the time of default. In addition, $1,491,090.23 is owed in back property taxes and $28,667.26 is owed in water and sewer fees.

The seven-story building and parking garage have been mostly vacant since the former hospital and the World War II Veterans Memorial Hospital merged into what is now MidState Medical Center in the 1990s. Though there has been some interest from developers over the years, the building is deteriorating and nothing has come to fruition.

City Planner Dominick Caruso, who is acting city manager this week while Lawrence J. Kendzior is away, said there has been interest, but he has concerns about the building’s viability.

“The interest was primarily for housing at one time, elderly housing,” Caruso said. “That was the most play it got. I have my doubts on the viability of the whole building being able to be reused. There might have to be some adaptive reuse, depending on how dirty the building is or the types of PCBs or asbestos, or those types of industrial problems it might have. That would dictate the cost estimates.”

A similar auction scheduled for December 2011 was called off just a day prior after the owner filed an appeal. The appeal was withdrawn in 2012 and Foreclosure Committee Attorney Fran Doherty said the deadline for an appeal has since expired. Doherty, however, said the sale could still be delayed.

“That is not to say they could file for bankruptcy,” Doherty said. “That would bring a halt to everything.”

Doherty said he has had no contact with John Stanton, the attorney representing Bradley Research LLC, to determine if a bankruptcy filing was under consideration. Stanton could not be reached at his office for comment.

The city has been monitoring the situation surrounding the former hospital building, Kendzior said in a recent interview. He was aware of the bankruptcy possibility and that it would extend the process. Kendzior added that it was always possible the city could wind up with the vacant property, but it did not want to get into the habit of unnecessarily owning properties.

Any other bidders need to bring a bank check to the auction for $327,500, which is 10 percent of the $3.08 million appraised value. If bids are placed on the property, the city can recoup whatever it is owed from the payment. It has been common in the past for the city to bid up to what is owed on foreclosure sales, allowing it to acquire the property at no cost.

The 7.1-acre property was included in the recent Transit-Oriented District zoning changes, Caruso said. There was some discussion over whether to include it or not, but Caruso said it made sense to add the property into the zoning.

“This gives it more flexibility as far as uses that will be allowed in that building and I think it fits in the TOD,” Caruso said. “It has a lot of potential, especially if the building does come down.”

Economic Development Director Juliet Burdelski said she is hopeful that some use can be found for the building, noting that the housing possibility had peaked this past year, but has since declined.

“We had hoped something would come of it as there were some signs over the last year,” she said. “We’re still hopeful of a private party stepping in.”

Earlier this year developer George DiScala, of Bradley Research Center, told the Record-Journal there were plans to begin renovations by the middle of 2013, but they never came to fruition.

The closing is scheduled for noon on Oct. 26 with a 10 a.m. inspection for interested parties.

dbrechlin@recordjournal.com 203-317-2266 Twitter: @DanBrechlinRJ



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