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Finance Snag Delays Sale of Hospital in Alhambra

September 03, 1989|ELIZABETH LU | Times Staff Writer

ALHAMBRA — The proposed sale of Alhambra Community Hospital to a doctors group has hit a serious snag because the buyers are unable to arrange financing for the $13.6-million deal, a hospital spokesman said.

In April, city officials agreed to sell the financially troubled hospital to Alhambra Health Partners, made up of 81 doctors who work at the hospital. The sale must be approved by voters in a special election that was originally slated for August but has been delayed indefinitely because of difficulties in concluding negotiations for the sale.

The hospital building, at 100 S. Raymond Ave., is owned by the Alhambra Redevelopment Agency, which leases it to the city. The city in turn leases it to Alhambra Hospital Corp.

In February, the hospital began missing its $103,000-a-month rent payments to the city. To avoid closing the hospital, the only one in the community, city and hospital officials began talking about selling it to the doctors.

Impasse Reached

During the last four months, the hospital corporation has negotiated with the doctors group but reached an impasse over financing, said the Rev. George Cummings, treasurer of the hospital board.

"Finding financing for medical institutions in general is a problem," said Ron Dahlgren, the hospital's administrator and chief executive officer of the doctors group.

But he said the hospital is not in danger of closing soon. Although the back rent has not been paid, the hospital recently began paying the city $75,000 a month, he said.

"I think the city and the hospital board have been very cooperative," Dahlgren said.

The buyers are hoping for a compromise in which the city and hospital corporation would participate in the financing, Dahlgren said. He said the board and the city indicated that they would assist with the financing but were unable to agree on the details.

Want More Cash

"The tenor of the negotiation is they would like to see more (down payment) than we are able to provide right now," Dahlgren said. There is no disagreement over the $13.6-million price tag, he added.

While some critics in the community have said the selling price is too low, Dahlgren said it is a fair price.

For its part, the city is anxious to sell at the agreed price so that the Redevelopment Agency can retire a 30-year bond issue that helped finance construction of the hospital in 1974, City Manager Kevin Murphy said. The bond obligation has complicated financing for the agency's other development projects, he said.

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