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Hospice seeks OK to sell former offices on Watertown’s Washington Street

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The Hospice Foundation of Jefferson County Inc. has found a potential buyer for the former Washington Street offices of Hospice of Jefferson County.

The foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial support to Hospice, filed a state Supreme Court petition Tuesday at the county clerk’s office asking for approval to sell the property at 425 Washington St. to N&G Rentals LLC, Watertown, for $150,000.

Under state law, any sale of property held by a nonprofit organization has to be approved by the court.

The two-story, 5,500-square-foot brick building with a storage barn in the rear is no longer needed by Hospice since the construction of its eight-bed residence, including office space, at 1398 Gotham St. The foundation has been trying to sell the property, which has an assessed value of $335,400, for about two years, with no takers.

According to court documents, the property’s assessed value did not mirror its market value. Anthony G. Netto, a certified residential appraiser and chief appraiser with Upstate Appraisal Associates, Watertown, provided a letter to the foundation stating the property’s fair market value is “substantially less” than its tax assessment, as well as the price for which it was initially offered for sale, about $300,000.

Mr. Netto, citing the need for upgrades and other improvements in order to “make the building functional office space,” set the full market value at $150,000, stating in his letter that it likely would take another $150,000 to complete the renovations.

Proceeds of the sale will go toward construction costs of the Gotham Street facility. Hospice also will benefit from the sale by not having to pay maintenance and upkeep on the more than 100-year-old building. Neither Hospice Chief Executive Officer Diana K. Woodhouse nor Edward P. Lashomb, president of the foundation’s board of directors, was available for comment Thursday.

According to county records, N&G Rentals’ managing member is Watertown accountant Jerry R. Gardner, who could not be reached for comment Thursday regarding possible plans for the property.

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