Sections

Judge approves St. John’s, Mary Immac sale

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Brooklyn Bankruptcy Court Judge Carla E. Craig approved the $26.625 million sale of St. John’s and Mary Immaculate hospitals to Guttman Realty last week, Queens borough president spokesman Dan Andrews said.

“The borough president plans to continue to work with Guttman Realty in her pursuit to get medical uses at both of those locations,” Andrews said.

Along with approving the sale of St. John’s in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate in Jamaica, Craig denied both the state Dormitory Authority’s and Village Management Group’s requests that she further review the auction.

Marshall spoke with Gov. David Paterson at a dinner event two weeks ago and asked for the state to request the delay. The Dormitory Authority then ordered the review the next day, a state spokesman said.

The Village Management Group claimed the Oct. 16 auction was unfair in papers filed with the judge Nov. 3 and had asked that the bidding process be reopened. In its papers, the group said it wanted to open up health facilities at the former hospitals owned by the bankrupt and shuttered Caritas Health Care.

Marshall’s office has expressed concerns about the Brooklyn-based Guttman Realty, which has not confirmed what it plans to build on the properties.

Joshua Guttman, owner of Guttman Realty, and his son, Jack Guttman, were charged with 434 counts of failure to maintain privately owned waterfront property after a 10-alarm fire broke out in 2006 at one of Guttman’s Brooklyn properties, the Greenpoint Terminal Market.

Leszek Kuczera of Brooklyn was charged in 2006 with setting the fire.

Isaac Abraham, a spokesman for Guttman Realty, said in a previous interview that “if the Guttmans can have such a bad reputation because of the fire, I can’t see why the city should continue building after the Deutsche Bank fatalities,” referring to the fatal 2007 fire that occurred during the city- and state-overseen demolition of the building, which was damaged in the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Guttman purchased the St. John’s and Mary Immaculate properties at a bankruptcy auction Oct. 16, according to CB Richard Ellis, the firm retained by Proskauer Rose, Caritas Health Care’s bankruptcy counsel, to conduct the auction.

Caritas, which filed for bankruptcy protection in February and soon after began liquidating its assets, owned the St. John’s and Mary Immaculate sites, both of which were placed up for sale in May.

The auction took place at Proskauer Rose’s Midtown Manhattan office Oct 16. It was not open to the public.

Queens officials, including Marshall and Queens Civic Congress President Corey Bearak, have said they want to see the St. John’s and Mary Immaculate sites house health care facilities. But CB Richard Ellis spokesman Philip Weiss said the buyer “envisions several options for redeveloping the Mary Immaculate site, including an educational facility, nonprofit organization use, government operations or a religious facility.”

The St. John’s property may be used for office building development.

Marshall met with Guttman two weeks ago and urged the company to look into using the sites for health care purposes, Andrews said.

Abraham said the company will not make any decisions about the sites’ development until it has received input from the community and local elected officials.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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