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City places lone bid on former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital building

Hospital timeline

1885 - Meriden Hospital established as a not-for-profit acute care community hospital.

1968 - Another wing added to Meriden Hospital’s west end, bringing the total number of beds to 285.

1969 - Hospital changes its name to Meriden-Wallingford Hospital.

1991 - Meriden-Wallingford Hospital merges with World War II Veterans’ Memorial Hospital on Paddock Avenue to become Veterans Memorial Medical Center on two campuses.

1998 - Hospital moves to new building on Lewis Avenue and changes name to MidState Medical Center. Old facility on Cook Avenue sold to James E. McGuire, who has difficulty finding tenants and ends up in bankruptcy court.

2002 - McGuire sues MidState and reaches an agreement to eliminate the non-compete clause and allow any user in the building to provide the same services as the hospital.

2004 - Ownership transfers to George DiScala a principal in a partnership that ends up as debtor-in-possession of the former hospital after bankruptcy case ends.

2004-2010 - DiScala, owner of BRC LLC, struggles to pay taxes and keep the site safe. Thomas Brown, chief financial officer of BRC, begins negotiations with assisted-living and medical users.

2010 - Lease signed with New York based assisted-living provider to occupy 148,000 square feet. Letter of intent filed for physician’s practice to occupy former emergency room.

2011 - Property goes into foreclosure, owing the city more than $450,000 in back taxes. Days before a scheduled auction, DiScala files a motion to re-open the judgment of foreclosure and appealed.

2012 - Appeal is withdrawn in October

2013 - In January, DiScala said he hopes to move forward with redevelopment plans by mid-year.

2013 - Oct. 26 - City of Meriden is the only bidder at a foreclosure sale of the property.

MERIDEN — The city could soon own the vacant former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital building on Cook Avenue.

The city placed the only bid on the building at a foreclosure auction Saturday for less than the taxes owed on the property.

The owner, Bradley Research Center LLC, defaulted on its loan agreement in April 2011, owing $9.4 million to the bank. The company also owes $1,491,090 in back property taxes and $28,667 in water and sewer fees.

The city’s bid of $1,319,000 means it will essentially acquire the property at no cost, said City Manager Lawrence J. Kendzior.

“This will probably, likely be approved,” Kendzior said, noting the Foreclosure Committee has to approve the sale and the owner could object. “We will look to find a private developer for the property.”

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, including for elderly housing, the building is deteriorating. Kendzior said the city would secure and maintain the building so that it is not a nuisance.

The former hospital stands on 7.1 acres and was included in the recent Transit-Oriented District zoning changes, City Planner Dominick Caruso said earlier this month.

“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.”

Caruso added that he had his doubts whether or not the entire building could be reused depending on the level of environmental contamination. Abating the contamination could become pricey, he said.

In 2009, the city acquired a former medical office building at 116 Cook Ave., just down the street from the former hospital. It also owns the former Factory H site, which sits to the rear of 116 Cook Ave. City officials have discussed plans to turn the former medical building into housing. The Factory H site might also be used for housing or a park, city officials have said.

Kendzior said offers have been made on the 116 Cook Ave. building and he expects the city to issue a request for qualifications in the coming months for a developer to take ownership. He said the city could issue a similar request for the hospital building.

“It’s the kind of facility that lends itself to mixed-use,” Kendzior said of the hospital building.

City Council Majority Leader Brian Daniels said he is hopeful that the transit district zoning could help entice a developer.

“Moving forward, with the medical building at 116 Cook Ave., Factory H and the hospital, we’re getting some developers who now have interest,” Daniels said. “I’m cautiously optimistic ... the city doesn’t want to hold properties.”

City Councilor Walter A. Shamock said he was not aware of the city’s bidding on the property.

“I don’t know why they even bid on it. What are they going to do with it now?” Shamock said, disappointed the city could not recoup any taxes. “It will probably cost $6 million to $7 million just to demolish it and clean it up environmentally.”

Shamock pointed to 116 Cook Ave. as a project that has yet to come to fruition for the city and said he hopes the hospital does not suffer the same fate. 203-317-2266 Twitter: @DanBrechlinRJ

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