As the city of Philadelphia braces for a surged in COVID-19-related patients, it's been looking for sites to care for the coming influx. City officials are trying to get the shuttered Hahnemann University Hospital, whose 496-bed capacity would be immensely helpful, to reopen to help with the fight. But according to WHYY, negotiations with the building’s owner, investment banker Joel Freedman, are not going well.
“Mr. Freedman was difficult to work with at times when he was the owner of the hospital, and he is still difficult to work with as the owner of the shuttered hospital,” city Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.
“I think he is looking at how to turn an asset that is earning no revenue into an asset that earns some revenue, and isn’t actually particularly thinking through what the impacts are on public health,” Abernathy said of Freedman. “I think he’s looking at this as a business transaction rather than providing an imminent and important aid to the city and our residents.”
Writing in Esquire this Monday, Charles P. Pierce contends that if there ever was a clear case for using eminent domain, it's this one.
"I am generally not a fan of eminent domain, but if there is a clearer case for it than this one, especially at this moment in time, I don’t know what it would be," Pierce writes. "Last Thursday, the city broke off negotiations for the use of the hospital. It contracted with Temple University to use its gym for hospital overflow. There is nothing wrong with America that could not be fixed by shutting down the nation’s graduate schools of business for a while."