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Former Winona Hospital on the block

October 15, 2008

The former Winona Hospital site - and its unpaid tax bill of nearly $1 million - will be listed in the Marion County Treasurer's tax sale, which starts tomorrow.

The tax sale is going forward as the owners of the deteriorating buildings on a site exceeding 1 acre at 3232 N. Meridian St. try to find a way to unload them.

"All of the parties are working together to find a solution for that property," Ice Miller bankruptcy attorney Henry Efroymson said. "There's a lot at play here. No deal has come together."

Efroymson represents Walther Cancer Institute, which holds the first mortgage on Winona's former nursing home. It sits on an adjoining parcel to the north of the hospital. The nursing home parcel is slated for a sheriff's sale at a later date.

The Children's Museum has eyed the hospital property for possible expansion, but officials there won't move ahead until they see the results of an environmental assessment. "We're interested in it from the perspective that we want to see a good resolution to this problem," said Lisa Townsend, the museum's marketing director.

The museum is in a good position to take over the property. David Hamer, an Indianpolis attorney representing first-mortgage holder CIT Group in New York, told The Indianapolis Star in August that the museum had bought an option for the ownership rights.

Meanwhile, the minimum bid for the tax lien on the bankrupt hospital is $907,033, with a 120-day redemption period. The winning bidder on a tax lien does not necessarily take ownership, but instead has the right to receive payment of the back taxes, plus 10 percent interest.

Hamer could not be reached for comment on whether CIT Group will bid for the lien. Townsend also could not say whether the museum would put in a bid.

The hospital closed in 2004.

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