SOUTHINGTON — Hartford HealthCare sold five vacant homes adjacent to the Bradley Memorial campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut to a local developer and used the proceeds to buy a medical office building attached to the hospital.
Michael Riccio, a real estate developer and former town councilor, bought the five houses on Highwood Avenue and Oakland Road in September.
Hospital group officials said the sale was part of their effort to ensure access to medical care in Southington.
“Hartford HealthCare is committed to the Southington community and takes tremendous pride in the relationship we’ve established with town leaders and residents,” said Gary Havican, hospital president.
Proceeds from the sale totaled $570,000, Havican said in a statement Monday, and went toward buying the medical office building on the Bradley campus at 55 Meriden Ave. The building is attached to the hospital and was constructed through a private partnership. The hospital group now owns the land and the building.
Bradley Memorial is part of the Hospital of Central Connecticut which is in turn owned by Hartford HealthCare.
According to town records, the hospital took a loss selling properties accumulated decades ago at the cost of more than $650,000.
Town records show the hospital bought the five properties in the 1980s and 1990s. Prices for four of the houses available from town clerk records ranged from $160,000 to $170,000. The fifth, 92 Highwood Avenue, was sold for $100 in 1981.
Southington Deputy Town Clerk Sandra Brunoli said Riccio purchased the five homes as a package deal. He couldn’t be reached for comment on the deal Monday.
Some of the homes have since been transferred or sold to individuals or companies.Concerned for Bradley’s future
The sale worried Bonnie Sica, a founder of the Community Committee to Save Bradley. She’s opposed the removal of medical services from the Bradley campus and has urged hospital officials to keep the local hospital rather than move services elsewhere.
The properties were bought years ago with an eye towards expansion, Sica said. While hospital officials haven’t released plans for Bradley, Sica said the sale suggests there is a plan.
“What does that mean for the hospital?” she asked.
Hospital officials didn’t comment on a plan for Bradley’s future or the intended use for those properties Monday.
In 2017, Havican raised the possibility of tearing down the Bradley hospital building and replacing it with a modern structure. That prompted a council resolution calling for the Bradley property to remain.
Riccio, then Town Council chairman, voted against the resolution. He said conversations with hospital leaders were more effective at keeping Bradley than resolutions.Town leaders react
Victoria Triano, current Town Council chairwoman, said she hadn’t heard about the sale until an email over the weekend from Sica to Hartford HealthCare executives and the Town Council. Hospital group officials often tell town leaders about major plans “as a courtesy.”
Triano believed the houses had been bought with expansion in mind and now weren’t needed. Town leaders have urged Hartford HealthCare to maintain the Bradley campus.
“I know they’re still very committed to that building,” Triano said.
Triano, pastor of a church in East Haddam, is also pastoral care director at Southington Care, a nursing care facility at Bradley. Her position is as a consultant with Hartford HealthCare.
Triano didn’t vote in the 2017 resolution on Bradley.