HOBOKEN -- As a deal to sell Hoboken's city-owned hospital to a private bidder hangs in limbo this week, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has responded to critics who said that the mayor should have considered other bidders and has kept the process too closed to public scrutiny.
The city is hoping to sell the hospital to HUMC Holdco, a company that co-owns Bayonne Medical Center. But the deal hinges on the hospital’s operator reaching a bankruptcy settlement with various creditors. Negotiations continued in court this week, but a hearing has been postponed to Oct. 4.
As the deal has hit rough spots, two other potential bidders have said they would still like to buy the facility, and recently made their bids public.
On Wednesday, Zimmer released the details of a bid to buy the hospital submitted by P3 of Connecticut, as well as one submitted by a group from Jersey City Medical Center. Zimmer simultaneously sent out an email to news sites and blogs, saying those bids weren't as good as the one from Holdco.
“JCMC's involvement was limited to its agreement to lease a portion of the facility,” Zimmer said of the JCMC bid. “They would maintain only some of the services currently provided by HUMC. The bid was for a for profit development project that would create a commercial building characterized as a medical mall that would lease space to healthcare related businesses. In order to facilitate this commercial development, a redevelopment zone would have to be created and payments in lieu of taxes would have to be agreed upon.”
The JCMC bid was dependent upon state stabilization funds, redevelopment bonds, tax credits, and a financial partner, according to the bid, which was provided to The Reporter.
Zimmer also said the P3 proposal was not better than Holdco’s.
“Their initial proposal was only for the management of the hospital, not for its purchase,” Zimmer said. “This proposal was not considered because we were seeking to sell the hospital not hire a new manager. It was, however, consistent with P3's experience given that they are a consulting firm that, to best of my knowledge, has never owned and operated a hospital. They subsequently modified their bid to include an actual purchase offer.”
P3 has said they would not have any layoffs and would maintain the facility as a non-profit.
Officials from Jersey City Medical Center said on Wednesday that they would not respond to the mayor's statement at this time.
The Hoboken Municipal Authority received six qualified bids to buy the hospital. While three of the qualified bidders (P3, Holdco, and JCMC) are now in the public eye, there are still three bids which remain private. The authority and the bidders agreed to a non-disclosure agreement when the proposals were issued, but since JCMC and P3 made their bids public, Zimmer issued comments. The bids can be read on the city website.
For more, keep reading HudsonReporter.com. -- Ray Smith