June 21, 2024

Eastern Niagara Hospital property has a buyer | News

The building that once housed Eastern Niagara Hospital may soon see a change in ownership.

Stitched Development LLC, based in Southampton, N.Y., is asking the City of Lockport for a zoning variance to convert the hospital to an assisted living and senior living facility. In its application for the variance, Stitched Development LLC is identified as the “contract purchaser” of 521 East Ave.

The hospital has been vacant since it ceased operations on June 17, 2023 due to lack of operating funds. ENH had been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since November 2019.

Recently, as a part of the bankruptcy proceedings between ENH and its main creditor, Citizens Bank, David Wallace of Trigild IVL, a commercial real estate company, was appointed the new receiver of the property, meaning he was authorized to sell the building. Funds from the sale are to be used to settle ENH’s debt to Citizens Bank and other creditors.

It was unknown Thursday what Stitched Development offered to pay for the property. Company agent Charles Regensburg couldn’t be reached by phone to discuss the deal.

Efforts to sell 521 East Ave. have been ongoing since 2021 with a $3.5 million price tag, which is the same as the building’s assessed value. Previously, ENH had enlisted a broker from Hunt Real Estate to market the property, but no offers were accepted.

Since it is no longer operating as a hospital, ENH no longer has tax exempt status and would be responsible for paying property tax to the city as soon as this year, according to city assessor Tracy Farrell.

The city Zoning Board of Appeals has scheduled a 5 p.m. Tuesday public hearing on Stitched Development’s variance request. The hospital is sited in an R-1 (single-family residential) zone.

In his application, Regensburg stated that demolishing the hospital would cost more than the value of the land upon which it sits.

He also said transforming the hospital to a senior living facility would create “little impact” on the surrounding neighborhood, as the inhabitants would be similar to the inhabitants of ENH — patients, residents and staff. The development would be an “economic generator” for the city and Niagara County, Regensburg added.

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