St. John’s Hospital mixed-space plan nixed by Dept. of Buildings

St. John’s Hospital mixed-space plan nixed by Dept. of Buildings
By Rebecca Henely

The city Department of Buildings rejected plans filed by a Brooklyn architecture firm to develop the shuttered St. John’s Queens Hospital in Elmhurst, saying the proposal as submitted lacked crucial information.

NSC Architecture, which works out of 1945 McDonald Ave. in Brooklyn, filed with the department at the end of March a certificate of occupancy for the site of the hospital, which was closed in 2009 after its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The building, at 90-02 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, was once a 227-bed facility, but the filing called for a mixed-use building that would include retail space, offices, apartments and an ambulatory diagnostic facility, which would have a maximum occupancy of 345 people.

Jennifer Gilbert, a DOB spokeswoman, said in a statement that the submitted plans had important information missing, which included zoning, code analysis and egress, fire protection and materials analysis.

“The owner should address the department’s objections and resubmit plans for approval,” Gilbert said.

NSC Architecture did not return calls by press time. The identity of the developer was unclear.

The firm planned to present its plans for the former hospital site at a Community Board 4 meeting this week. District Manager Richard Italiano said Tuesday he had no early impression of the plan.

“The ideal thing would be to have a full-service hospital in there, but that’s not going to happen, so we’ll see what they present,” Italiano said.

St. John’s was one of two Queens hospitals — the other was Mary Immaculate in Jamaica — that closed when Caritas filed for bankruptcy after accruing a debt of $100 million. While Caritas, which also operated the still-open Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, asked for the state to provide $36 million in operating costs, the request was denied.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.