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St. John’s hospital site in for major makeover

Despite protests to keep open St. John's Queens Hospital in Elmhurst, the facility was closed in 2009 and a Brooklyn firm has recently filed a certificate of occupancy for the building.
By Rebecca Henely

A Brooklyn architecture firm has filed a certificate of occupancy with the city Department of Buildings to build what appears to be a mixed-use property with apartments, offices, retail and a clinic at the site of St. John’s Queens Hospital, which closed in 2009.

Nicholas Scire-Chianetta of NSC Architecture, at 1945 McDonald Ave. in Brooklyn, filed for the certificate at the end of March. The certificate listing implies radical changes for what was once a 227-bed hospital at 90-02 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst. Space that once held a boiler room and morgue would be replaced with retail space and parking for residents. What was once radiology may one day be offices. The intensive care center and incinerator would have their uses changed to apartments, according to the filing.

But while most of the filing implies the former hospital will be a standard mixed-use property, the certificate also asks for an ambulatory diagnostic treatment facility. This facility would have a maximum occupancy of 345 people.

Employees of NSC Architecture would not comment further on the company’s plans for St. John’s, but said they would be meeting with Community Board 4 Tuesday at 7:15 a.m. at its office at 46-11 104th St. in Corona to further discuss their plans.

St. John’s closed in 2009 along with Mary Immaculate in Jamaica when their parent company, Caritas, which also operated Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after racking up $100 million in debt. The hospitals closed after the state said the government could not provide the hospitals with $36 million in operating costs.

State Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-Corona) said it would be a good thing if the facility would be reused and said housing and retail would be beneficial. He said he was interested in more details as to what sort of medical facility would be in the building and hoped it would relieve the strain on Queens hospitals’ emergency rooms.

“As far as a medical site, it’ll be interesting to see exactly what they’re proposing,” Aubry said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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