North Charles General Hospital buyer selected


A company in Mystic, Conn., has been selected over five other bidders to acquire the former North Charles General Hospital at 2800 N. Charles St. and has until early April to move ahead with its plans for a "high-skill, high-tech" nursing home on the property.

Mariner Health Systems, a company with eight other facilities containing a total of 1,000 nursing home beds, has offered to buy the vacant hospital from the Johns Hopkins Health System for $4 million, according to Hopkins spokeswoman Joann Rodgers.

Ms. Rodgers said Hopkins reopened bidding for the property in January, after considering three local bids that fell short of the price it was seeking. Mariner not only submitted the highest bid but was judged to be the most financially stable firm, she said.

Should the company still wish to move ahead with the project after a monthlong study period, it would take title to the property in mid-June, she added.

Mariner officials could not be reached. Ms. Rodgers said she didn't know how many beds the North Charles Street facility would have but that officials want to open a "high-skill, high-tech" nursing home that would provide the highest level of care.

Another bidder was Maryland Lifelines, a non-profit group that proposed a long-term residence and multiservice center for people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Kathy Baker, executive director of Maryland Lifelines, said her group would seek alternative sites if it were unable to purchase the former hospital property.

The Johns Hopkins Health System acquired the 213-bed hospital in 1985 and renamed it Homewood Hospital Center-South. Citing losses of more than $5 million and changing patient needs, officials announced plans in early 1991 to close it in phases. They have been working with the Maryland Health and Higher Educational Facilities Authority to select a buyer.

All of the bids fell short of the outstanding debt on the building, which is more than $10 million.

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