COVID-19: Philadelphia hospital closed as owner demands $1m monthly rent

Novieku-Babatunde Adeola Mar 31, 2020 at 10:30am

March 31, 2020 at 10:30 am | News

Novieku-Babatunde Adeola

Novieku-Babatunde Adeola | Staff Writer

March 31, 2020 at 10:30 am | News

Photo: Hahnemann University Hospital_Bisnow

A Philadelphia hospital will remain closed despite its ability to hold 500 patients affected by the novel coronavirus. The Hahnemann University Hospital which was decommissioned in 2019 was touted by Philadelphia mayor, Jim Kenney as a decent option to accommodate and treat people who are being crushed by the virus.

However, following continuous negotiations, city officials say that they cannot accept the owner’s offer which is to buy the hospital or lease it for almost $1 million a month, including utilities and other costs.

According to the mayor, the building owner, Joel Freedman had offered to rent the building to the city for $400,000 a month, plus improvement and expenses, Fox29 reported.

“We don’t have the need to own it nor the resources to buy it. So we are done and we are moving on,” Mayor Kennedy told reporters on Thursday during the city’s daily briefing.

“In the midst of a public health crisis with the number of positive cases increasing daily, we simply do not have time to continue in a lengthy negotiation,” he added.

City of Philadelphia Managing Director Phil Abernathy also accused Freedman of taking an “unreasonable” position with the city, arguing that the developer “is looking at this as a business transaction rather than providing an imminent and important need to the city and our residents”.

“We don’t have the need to own it nor the resources to buy it,” Mayor Jim Kenney said of the Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.
“We don’t have the need to own it nor the resources to buy it,” Mayor Jim Kenney said of the Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia_Photo_Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Hahnemann University Hospital is said to be one of the oldest in the state. It was founded in 1848. 

According to Bisnow, the hospital served the city’s sickest and poorest people as it depended on low payments from government-run programs. Coronavirus has killed more than 21,000 people and affected over 472,000 since it emerged last December.

Since the pandemic hit the U.S., more than 200 deaths from COVID-19 were reported last Wednesday in the United States — a new high for fatalities recorded in a single day, CNN reported.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, has seen a spike in numbers. According to CBS Philly, the number of coronavirus cases in the state has now topped 1,000 as the statewide total has climbed above 4,000.

Pennsylvania health officials reported nearly 700 new cases on Monday, as the total number of cases across the commonwealth now stands at 4,087. Fifty people have now died from the virus in Pennsylvania.

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