St. John's Hospital in Elmhurst has changed hands for the second time in five years, and the new buyersa group of Asia-based investors represented in NYC by builder Steven Wuare planning to continue a stalled residential conversion for the 260,000-square-foot space. (The former landlord bought the bankrupt facility for a mere $20 million in 2009 and began some interior demolition work.) Crain's reports that in addition to rental apartments, the new developers want to build ground-floor retail and space for medical offices. Wu and co. shelled out
55 million $47 million (PDF), which was its asking price over the summer, for the abandoned property at 90-02 Queens Boulevard along with a nearby parking lot.
There are trends of note here. First, Asian businesses buying up New York property or at least stakes in itlike we've seen at Atlantic Yards and Chase Manhattan Plaza, to name but two examples. Second, hospitals closing to make way for other things, like housing, that deliver more returns. Look to the Village's St. Vincent's and its major conversion controversy as one precedent, and the currently stalled redevelopment plans for cash-strapped Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill for another.
St. John's new owners plan to spend $45 million more on their residential conversion; community opposition in Queens remains to be seen, but since the hospital has already been closed for a few years, perhaps this is one transition that won't face as much of it.
· Former Queens hospital to become residential [Crain's]
· Conversions of the Future [Curbed]