Nursing home to be revived City to help finance completion of project

November 11, 1993|By James Bock | James Bock,Staff Writer

After soaking up more than $5 million in government funds, the N. M. Carroll nursing home in West Baltimore has stood empty for more than two years, as boarded up and useless as the most dilapidated rowhouse.

Now the boards are about to come off the five-story structure.

Daniel P. Henson III, the Baltimore housing commissioner, is weighing proposals from five developers to complete and manage the building, which originally was to be the first black-owned, nonprofit nursing home in West Baltimore. The city has offered to finance completion of the project.

The nearly completed nursing home at 1000 N. Gilmor St. stands out among the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood's 670 vacant buildings as the biggest and easily the best-financed.

The city lost $3.4 million in loan guarantees when the original developer of the 140-bed home, a community group known as N. M. Carroll Health Care Facility Inc., ran out of money and filed for bankruptcy last year. State and federal grants also helped pay for the project.

Mr. Henson wants to get the nursing home operating without more losses.

"The bottom line is to get well-financed, quality-care service in Sandtown-Winchester so the city doesn't have subsidize it in the future," he said.

The nursing home would have more than 100 employees, according to the development proposals, making it the largest employer in poverty-ridden Sandtown.

Mr. Henson says he will choose a developer by the end of this month from among three for-profit nursing home operators and two nonprofit groups that have submitted bids. They are:

* FutureCare Health and Management Corp., a Pasadena operator of three suburban nursing homes. Developer Leonard J. Attman is chairman of FutureCare, which seeks a $2.7 million city loan to complete a nursing home with 140 to 150 beds.

FutureCare has assembled a politically well-connected team including Del. Elijah E. Cummings of West Baltimore; Alvin M. Powers, former Bon Secours Hospital administrator; William L. Hankins, a former Bon Secours executive; and Roger Blunt, a construction executive.

* Spectrum Health Care Corp., operator of the Brighton Manor nursing home in West Baltimore. D. Randolph Melchor, president of Spectrum, says design flaws make the building suitable for only 70 beds. The city would finance the $1.5 million project.

* Our House Senior-Assisted Living Inc., which manages the Forest Haven nursing home in Catonsville. Developer Gary G. Waitt proposes 140 beds, including 20 beds for acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients. He says the $1.65 million project would be privately financed.

* Repairers of the Breach, a nonprofit successor to the original Carroll group. Attorney James Terry Stewart seeks city financing for the $1.1 million project.

* The Greater Maryland Church of God in Christ, the other nonprofit bidder, which seeks $2.7 million in city financing.

Nelson J. Sabatini, the state health secretary, said the N. M. Carroll project should give the city much-needed traditional nursing home beds and should not attempt to provide other kinds of care.

Mr. Powers of FutureCare said he met with Mr. Sabatini and tailored his proposal to fit the secretary's wishes. He said FutureCare could have the home running within six months.

The Sandtown-Winchester Improvement Association was to meet last night to endorse one of the bids. Members have expressed sympathy for giving Repairers of the Breach a chance to finish the job that the N. M. Carroll group started.

The Carroll group had debts of nearly $7 million when it ran out of money. Its only assets were the unfinished nursing home and a $50 bank balance.

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