The old Aberdeen High School building could become medical offices if the city council moves to waive restrictions on the building’s use.
The property at 34 N. Philadelphia Blvd. was deeded to the city from the county a few years back, city manager Randy Robertson said, and processed for sale to investors. It was sold to the Keyona Group with the intent of turning the old building into senior housing.
But, thus far, Keyona has made no measurable progress on fixing up the building since they purchased it, and vascular surgeon Mohammed Chaudry thought it would be a good site for a medical center. He commissioned a feasibility study, which found the location to be ideally situated for his private practice.
“Knowing the potential for this building, and the location, and the proximity to I-95 and being south of the Susquehanna River, I think it really behooves anyone who wants to make a real impact on healthcare,” Chaudry said at the city council’s Oct. 12 meeting.
The center would be for vascular and wound care with opportunities to expand into other medical fields that relate to vascular care.
But the building has restrictions on its use; it must be used specifically for senior housing, which is why Chaudry appeared before the council to ask for those restrictions to be lifted from the deed. He has a contract with the Keynoa Group, he said, to buy the property.
The feasibility study showed that the proposed offices could need more parking after five or 10 years, Chaudry said, a point Mayor Patrick McGrady said the city would have to discuss with him further.
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Chaudry is asking for the parking along Festival Park across from Howard Street be reserved for the office on weekdays during normal business hours.
“I think everybody’s excited about the possibility of this being successful,” McGrady said.
Parking is important for the project, Chaudry said, because some patients have difficulties walking.
The building will require substantial renovation, Chaudry said, but he wants to make efforts to preserve the original façade for its historic value.
The former high school and elementary school, which dates to 1908, was being used for Harford County community services, including Health Department functions, until it suffered major damage from a plumbing leak in 2014. The city acquired the nearly 28,000 square-foot building from the county for $1 in February 2017.
In January 2018, Aberdeen city officials accepted an offer of $455,000 from Brijesh Patel, of Keyona Investors LLC, to purchase the former school. The building had been on the market for close to a year prior to the city receiving Patel’s offer.
In 2015, under former Mayor Michael Bennett, city leaders had discussed converting the former school into a community center, even paying for a feasibility study, but those plans did not come to fruition.