A vacated former Salina hospital that was the source of a lawsuit between Salina Regional Health Center and the City of Salina has been sold. Salina Regional Health Center announced Thursday afternoon that it has completed the sale of the former St. John’s hospital to an out-of-town developer.
In December a dispute about the proposed demolition of the vacated former St. John’s Hospital facility prompted Salina Regional Health Center to file a lawsuit against the city. The hospital was seeking an order to overturn action by the Salina City Commission that prevented demolition of the former St. John’s.
On November 17th the city denied a request by Salina Regional Health Center to demolish the former St. John’s Hospital facility. Previously Salina’s Heritage Commission approved plans to demolish the buildings, agreeing that restoring them would be too costly. 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. He believed there were ways that the facility can be used. Salina City Commissioners then delayed approving the demolition.
Officials had hoped that the issue would become a moot point, with the facility being transformed into affordable senior housing. Overland Park based Comprise Community Development Company had expressed interest in the property. Comprise and Salina Regional Health Center signed a real estate purchase contract in March. The sale was contingent upon due diligence inspections. Comprised had intended to convert the existing building into affordable senior housing. Plans included 104 one and two bedroom units. The company would have maintained all historic portions. It was anticipated construction could begin in the fall, and take about a year. The plan never became a reality, though.
Hospital officials had said that they had been unsuccessfully trying since 2002 to find an alternate use to avoid demolition. The former hospital is not on any state or national register of historic places. In 1997 it was designated by the city as a part of the local Heritage Conservation District. That designation requires a Certificate of Appropriateness to remove the buildings.
The first structure in the complex, known as the Penn Campus, was built in 1914 and provided services until 2004, when most hospital functions moved to Salina Regional facilities in the 400 block of S. Santa Fe Avenue. The last hospital functions were transferred to other locations in 2011.
The sale includes the Medaille Center building, located on the northwest corner of the complex.