St. Catherine's sold, condominiums, apartments planned
McCOOK, Nebraska -- After several years of sitting idle, the former St. Catherine's apartment building was purchased for $16,500 Wednesday at a Sheriff's Sale at the Red Willow County Courthouse.
The purchaser -- John Smith of 908 East Fourth Street, McCook -- told the Gazette this morning that he plans to convert the building into apartments and condominiums. There will be two condominiums -- one for Smith and one for his niece. He said the remainder of the large structure will be converted into apartments, with Smith and his niece serving as the managers.
Other than two representatives from the sheriff's department, the only people in attendance at Wednesday's sale was a group of three which included Smith.
The only other bid, for $16,250, was submitted by mail by the previous owner, Midwest Management. Associated with US Bank, Midwest Management is an Omaha-based company, which had acquired the property from the previous listed owner: Bison Properties, LLC.
The legal description of the property is Lot 1, Block 1 Red Willow Realty First Addition to McCook, Red Willow County Nebraska and Lot 3 Except the North 60 feet in Block 1, Red Willow Realty First Addition to McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska..
The sale, conducted in the lobby on the first floor of the Red Willow County Courthouse, went very quickly. The bid from Midwest Management was opened at the sale's beginning at 9 a.m., and two minutes later, at precisely 9:02 a.m., the winning bid of $16,500 was made by Smith.
Most of the purchase price of $16,500 will go to cover back taxes and a nuisance charge from the City of McCook. The liens on the property included tax charges of $9,279.68 for 2008-09 and $6,292.72 for 2010-11. Added to this is the nuisance charge of $1,225 by the city.
There had been concerns the large, rambling brick building -- which had fallen into disrepair -- would have to be demolished. But, in recent months, the need for additional rental housing in the community became acute. Twenty seven units, created at the former East Ward school site by the McCook Housing Agency, are now full, with all 27 units occupied by 32 residents.
John Smith, the new owner of the one-time St. Catherine's of Sienna Hospital property, is medically retired from the military. Now 43, he grew up in Cambridge, but lived briefly in McCook during his grade school years.
"In fact," Smith says, "I lived in St. Catherine's for a short time when I was in the third and fourth grades."