Proposal calls for former St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to be converted into senior citizens housing

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The former St. Elizabeth's Hospital, 109 Virginia in Hannibal, Mo. Photo: Jim Dewey

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Hannibal City Council heard an update on plans to convert the former St. Elizabeth’s Hospital at 109 Virginia into housing for senior citizens during a special public meeting Tuesday night.

The meeting was led by Ben Porush, dIrector of operations for 3 Diamond Development in Lincolnwood, Ill.

Porush said the plan calls for the creation of affordable senior housing for both independent and skilled nursing care residents. Fifty-four apartments will be built, with 36 single-bedroom units and 18 two-bedroom units. Rent would range from $350 to $800, depending on the individual renter’s ability to pay.

Porush said 3 Diamond Development wants the facility to be more than housing. The firm is looking for ways to make the development “something that is active, something that is positive and something that the residents can benefit from far beyond just a roof over their heads,” he said.

The residences, Porush said, will be sophisticated, modern and safe for seniors while having as many amenities as can be provided. 

3 Diamond Development is applying for several tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission to help finance the project. Porush said the application is due in October. 3 Diamond has been unsuccessful in three previous attempts to apply for these competitive tax credits. Porush noted it isn’t unusual for this type of credit.

The MHDC credit would be a major component of the funding, but since the former hospital is on the National Register of Historic Places, Porush said 3 Diamond Development also would qualify for federal historic renovation tax credits. Because of the nature of the MHDC credits, the residences must remain both affordable and for seniors for 30 years. Porush said seniors likely will be defined at 62 or older for this project.

Porush said a decision will be made in 90 to 120 days once the application is submitted. It will then take several months to close on the financing. The project architect, Curtis Goben with Wallace Architects of Columbia, Mo., said construction will take about 12 months. Residents could begin moving in by the end of 2023. 

A 1970s era addition to the building will be torn down. Goben said the rest of the structure is in good condition.

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