City drops bid to use Hahnemann as COVID-19 quarantine site

City officials have dropped a bid to lease the shuttered Hahnemann University Hospital for use as a coronavirus quarantine site after frustrating negotiations with the building’s owner.

Mayor Jim Kenney said Thursday it would have cost the city $1 million a month to rent the former hospital, which has been stripped of beds and other medical equipment. That price was too high for city leaders.

“In the midst of a public health crisis with the numbers of positive cases increasing daily, we simply do not have the time to continue in a lengthy negotiation,” Kenney said. “So we are done, and we are moving on.” 

Joel Freedman, who caused an outcry by shutting down Hahnemann last year, wanted $400,000 in monthly rent and for the city to cover costs associated with renovating and operating the proposed quarantine site, according to Kenney. 

At first, Freedman wanted the municipal government to buy the building outright, but Kenney said the city couldn’t afford it and had no desire to purchase the hospital. Kenney said the facility’s condition has deteriorated.

Kenney said Hahnemann’s owner rejected an offer which would have had the city pay a nominal rent while paying to upgrade and operate the

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