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YOUNGSTOWN OSTEOPATHIC Agency drops plan to buy old hospital



Published: Tue, May 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



An attorney said the estate hasn't given up on its search for a buyer.

By CYNTHIA VINARSKY

VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN --A local social service agency has canceled its plans to buy the former Youngstown Osteopathic Hospital and convert the vacant facility into an office complex.

Marty Gaudiose, chief executive of Mahoning County Chemical Dependency Program, said the Meridian Road agency had bid on the vacant, 250,000-square-foot facility and planned to buy it in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court auction last week.

The agency withdrew its bid when it was unable to secure financing for the purchase.

History: A Youngstown landmark since 1953, YOH filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 1999, but continued to operate while officials attempted to reorganize its debts.

It closed permanently in March 2000, citing declining admissions, dropping outpatient revenue and the inability to reach a settlement with striking employees, members of Teamsters Local 377. The closing left about 280 workers jobless.

MCCDP had signed a purchase agreement offering $700,000 for the former hospital, but the offer was contingent upon securing financing. The YOH estate is asking $1.5 million for the property, which includes two main buildings and three houses on 8.5 acres, the equivalent of 22 city lots.

Gaudiose said MCCDP wanted to move some of its operations into the building and would have expanded some of its services. Agency officials also planned to rent out about 90 percent of the former hospital to other social service agencies, businesses and local government offices.

Tenants waver: Many of the agencies and businesses that expressed an interest in the facility a year ago when the plan was initiated have seen their circumstances change since then, Gaudiose explained, and were either not willing or not able to commit to a move. Without contracts from those prospective renters, MCCDP couldn't get financing.

"We were very disappointed," Gaudiose said. "We don't want a vacant building of that stature in the community."

Atty. William Schonberg, a Cleveland attorney representing YOH in its bankruptcy case, said the estate is "still very actively marketing the property" through Kutlick Platz Realty, a Boardman commercial real estate firm.

Kutlick Platz officials have said at least 10 prospects have looked at the building since they began working on the sale in November.

Located on Broadway between Elm Street and Wick Avenue, the property includes a cafeteria, a medical library, a small auditorium, a sky-lighted foyer and lighted parking for 500 vehicles. The estate already liquidated most of the hospital's furnishings and medical equipment in a sale that raised $600,000.

vinarsky@vindy.com




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