Company buying former Maquoketa hospital for housing options, but identity unknown

MAQUOKETA, Iowa — A company is buying the former Maquoketa hospital and the land on which it sits to construct a variety of housing options, but the buyer’s identity has not yet been revealed.


The Jackson County Regional Health Center Board of Trustees this week approved an offer of $500,000 for the purchase of the former hospital and 12 acres at 700 W. Grove St. The hospital building closed in March when Jackson County Regional Health Center opened its new facility at 601 Hospital Drive.


However, the approval of the sale is subject to board members receiving the name of the buyer, which they do not yet know.


“We’re dealing with a purchaser who wishes to keep the full extent of their business plan confidential,” said Curt Coleman, president of the hospital. “The purchaser will be known to us before we execute the agreement.”


The company’s representative has told board members that the company plans to construct multi-family housing and apartment units, as well as community areas and potential office or retail space on the 12-acre property.


This is consistent with feedback received at community-input sessions in March 2020 regarding ideal future use of the former hospital site, Coleman said.


After a request for proposals for the property garnered no interest, officials announced in October that it would be auctioned in a sealed bid process. Chicago-based real estate auction company Rick Levin & Associates worked with Iowa company Hallberg Auction and Real Estate to handle the auction.


Coleman described the offer accepted by the board as “the most favorable” bid. He said the buyer is establishing an LLC or similar company in Iowa, which would be the final signatory to the agreement.


Board Member Kevin Burns said the board has done “as much due diligence as we possibly can do” and that members are satisfied with the buyer’s experience and plan.


“Everything we have heard from the representative is what we would hope to hear as far as potential use for the property,” he said. “ … We have been assured that this is not an unsophisticated buyer.”


Board Member Gloria Jorgensen described the sale as the final step in the process of opening the new hospital, which she said the community has received favorably.


“I’m hoping that people will realize that those of us who are on the board, we do want the best for Maquoketa, and we think we’ve got that coming,” she said.


If no bids had been received, the old facility would have been demolished, which Coleman said was estimated to cost around $1.6 million.


“Accepting this proposal is quite literally a swing of $2 million that can be reinvested in the current hospital rather than maintaining an old facility, with future opportunities for development into a use that is consistent with what the community and the neighbors have told us they wanted,” he said following the meeting.