Health care group Centers Health Care revealed details of its plans to make over the long-shuttered and derelict St. Mary’s Hospital at 170 Buffalo Avenue in Crown Heights into a nursing home at a meeting of Community Board 8 Thursday night. The firm has already gutted the building and plans to convert it to a 280-bed facility with 30 parking spots.

It will reduce the size of the hospital’s current parking lot and plant a garden in the western half of it, which extends between two unrelated neighboring apartment buildings. There will also be landscaping around the perimeter of the building. Architect John W. Baumgarten plans to revamp the exterior with stucco and highlight the existing corner staircases to soften the hulking structure’s appearance.

Centers Health Care purchased the 170,000-square-foot hospital for $19,500,000 last year, firm reps said last night. (Records show an LLC.) The firm is a group of independently owned and operated health care facilities of various types, including Brooklyn Center at 1455 Coney Island Avenue, run by Prospect Park Operating LLC, which we reported last year had leased St. Mary’s from the new owner for $1,500,000 for 15 years. (As far as we can tell, that operator has no connection to the similarly named Park Slope assisted living facility, Prospect Park Residences, which has been in litigation over its controversial sale and closure.)

The firm has already submitted a ULURP application to the Department of City Planning, as well as a variance application to the Board of Standards and Appeals. St. Mary’s received a variance for its height (eight stories without a setback) when it was constructed in 1975, and the new owner has to re-apply for the variance now that the building’s use has changed. And every new nursing home project must go through City Planning approval.

St. Mary’s shuttered because of bankruptcy in 2005, and it’s become decrepit and graffiti-covered in the intervening decade. The eight-story hospital occupies the eastern half of a block bounded by Rochester Avenue, Buffalo Avenue, St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place, close to the Weeksville Heritage Center. Click through for a photo of the current building, an interior rendering and a site plan.

Shuttered Crown Heights Hospital Will Not Become Condos [Brownstoner] GMAP
Building of the Day: 1260 St. Marks Avenue [Brownstoner]
Renderings by John W. Baumgarten Architect, P.C.