Former St. John’s Hospital acquired once again
by Andrew Shilling
Jan 08, 2014 | 500 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nearly a year since previous development plans surfaced for the former St. John’s Hospital on Queens Boulevard, there is now a new developer to pick up where that proposal left off.

Chinese Investment Group, led by developer Steve Wu, purchased the vacant Elmhurst building at 90-02 Queens Blvd. just across the street from Queens Center Mall for a reported $55 million.

Plans include re-developing the 266,322-square-foot hospital, which went bankrupt in 2009, to incorporate a new medical facility, as well as residential, commercial and community space.

Madison Capital Realty (MCR), a commercial real estate firm specializing in debt and equity financing, provided a $38 million first mortgage bridge loan to assist in the most recent acquisition of the building.

“This is a particularly exciting and interesting deal because it highlights several trends we’re seeing in the market,” said Josh Zegen, co-founder and managing member of MRC. “New York has seen multiple hospital closings over the past few years, raising the issue of what happens to these large, centrally located buildings.”

The previous Brooklyn-based developer, 89-52 Queens LLC, received variances that allowed for 148,000 square feet of residential space and 118,213 square feet of commercial and community space.

“Investors now understand the opportunity, and they’re looking to create value through adaptive reuse,” Zegan said. “For MRC, this is exactly the kind of deal we like to finance.”

Community Board 4 district manager Christian Cassagnol said that while the new owners are not required to apply for new variances or address the community board, he still carries some of the same reservations from the last time developers eyed the building.

“The traffic situation is something to worry about, and with limited resources from sanitation down to electrical, it is something to think about,” Cassagnol said.

With a large influx of new residents - an estimated 144 new residential units are planned for the third and sixth floors with a seventh floor penthouse - the board has continued concern over access to the rear parking lot on Hoffman Drive.

Variances obtained by the previous landlord allow for a four-story, 89,601-square-foot parking garage with 290 spaces.

“The real hospital was on Hoffman Dr., and all the way up Hoffman you have to make a right turn to Woodhaven Boulevard and it is 10 blocks before you can come back down to Queens Boulevard,” Cassagnol explained. “If they’re using that parking lot for residents, we’re going to get a lot of illegal U-turns.”

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