Salina City Commissioners delay until August making a decision on whether or not to allow demolition of the St. John’s Hospital buildings. The issue could become a moot point, as the facility could soon be transformed into affordable senior housing.
Back on December 4th Salina’s Heritage Commission approved plans to demolish the buildings, saying restoring them would be too costly.
The St. John’s campus, which is owned by Salina Regional Health Center, has been vacant since 2010. At the time the hospital said it would cost between $1 million and $2 million to demolish the seven-building campus. Redeveloping the buildings would cost more.
The issue then had to come before the city commission for final approval. At that meeting, Jim Ravenkamp filed a protest to the demolition plan. At the time, he told KSAL News that he believed there are ways that the facility can be used. Salina City Commissioners then delayed approving the demolition.
Since that time, Overland Park based Comprise Community Development Company expressed interest in the property. Comprise and Salina Regional Health Center signed a real estate purchase contract in March. The sale is contingent upon due diligence inspections.
Comprise intends to convert the existing building into affordable senior housing. Plans include 104 one and two bedroom units. The company will maintain all historic portions. Its anticipated construction could begin in the fall, and take about a year.
St. John’s was started in 1914 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia and operated by the Wichita-based Sisters of St. Joseph until 1995.