It could be three years before the city can take control of the Mercy Care nursing home, but members of Advantage Watertown wanted to know Thursday the status of the soon-to-be-vacant complex.
Samaritan Medical Center is slated to move out of the mammoth structure at 218 Stone St. in January after it opens a new 288-bed elder-care facility in the town of Watertown.
The subject of the buildings future first came up at last months meeting, when the group of business and community leaders asked city officials a series of questions. Much of what may happen to the complex remains unclear.
In October, Samaritan paid the $211,159 in back property taxes on the nursing home, so it is now current, said Kenneth A. Mix, the citys planning and community development coordinator.
However, its owner, MGNH Inc., still owes $28,605 in back taxes on three other Mercy-related properties parking lots at 213 Stone St. and 218 Rexford Place and a small parcel on Arsenal Street, Mr. Mix said.
Unless something unexpected happens, the city probably will end up with the 377,643-square-foot complex that includes a series of mostly connected structures.
Advantage Watertown members said they have no clue about redevelopment possibilities once Samaritan moves out.
Its a question of what it can be used for, Mr. Mix said.
Peter W. Schmitt asked about the condition of the complex. Mr. Mix said parts of it are in better shape than others. The two parking lots could be used for in-fill housing, City Manager Mary M. Corriveau said.
City officials said they believe, but dont know for sure, that General Electric Capital Corp. still owns the mortgage on the property. City officials said they have not talked to hospital officials about plans for the building after the nursing home closes.
Meanwhile, the city comptrollers office recently wrote to GE Capital and MGNH Inc., notifying them taxes are due for the parking lots and the Arsenal Street parcel by June 25. If they are not paid, ICA Renovations, a Marietta-based investment group, can decide to accept the tax deed, City Comptroller James E. Mills said.
Depending on what happens, the city could take over the three properties in June of next year. As for the nursing home, if taxes are not kept current, it will take until 2015 to go through the entire tax sales certificate process, and thats when the city could take it over, Mr. Mills said.