From the Forum West:
Executives from a Manhattan-based development firm held an informal meeting last week with Community Board 4 members to present their vision for the future of the St. John’s Hospital property on Queens Boulevard, which is set to be sold at auction next month.
Dan Panitz and Justin Green of HaysVentures, LLC, a real estate firm specializing in commercial and retail real estate sales, investment, and development, met last Thursday in the CB 4 offices to unveil a plan for the property that features a combination of medical services, retail space and educational uses.
Panitz assured the board that the company is not interested in building residential units at that site. “We don’t need another shopping mall, another residential development,” he said. “We need to serve the needs.” Panitz, who grew up in the area and formerly served on the community board, stressed that he is “not just some suit, some developer, coming to the community” to develop the site “at the expense of the community.” He said the firm requested the meeting so it could receive feedback from residents as to what they would like to see at the site.
The building has sat vacant since St. John’s Hospital closed in March along with Mary Immaculate Hospital after its parent corporation went bankrupt. Panitz revealed that HaysVentures was behind a $43 million offer submitted by a private investment firm that sought to save the hospitals. “Our goal was to save the hospitals, not to shut them down,” adding that a deal fell apart at the eleventh hour. “It broke our hearts,” said Panitz, who recalled receiving stitches in the St. John’s emergency room as a child.
The company has since submitted an offer for the property, which will be sold at an auction in August, according to CB 4 Chairman Richard Italiano. In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Panitz and Green refused to provide details regarding the offer. However, at the meeting Green said the company will be at the auction if the offer isn’t accepted before then, and suggested that he expects HaysVentures to obtain the property. “We will acquire the asset,” he predicted.