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Hospice seeks court’s okay to sell Watertown property for $350K

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Hospice Foundation of Jefferson County Inc. has again asked for court approval to sell its Washington Street property, this time for more than double the amount it was due to receive under terms of an earlier approved sale.

The foundation, which provides financial support to Hospice of Jefferson County, filed a state Supreme Court petition Tuesday at the county clerk’s office seeking approval to sell 425 Washington St. to Watertown businessman Brian H. Murray for $350,000. Under state law, any sale of property held by a nonprofit organization has to be approved by the court.

The foundation had court approval in December to sell the property to N&G Rentals LLC, Watertown, for $150,000. However, Alexandria Bay real estate developer P.J. Simao, who has helped Hospice raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, objected, contending that the sale price was too low based on its estimated full market value, which the city set at $376,000.

When questions about the sale price surfaced, the principal of N&G Rentals, accountant Jerry R. Gardner, agreed to step aside and give the foundation more time to market the property. If a better offer was received within a six-month period, Mr. Gardner retained the right to match or top it. After Mr. Murray submitted his offer, Mr. Gardner said he did not plan to exercise his right of first refusal and he has submitted a release of his sale agreement with the foundation to the court.

Hospice will use proceeds from the sale to defray construction costs of its eight-bed residence, including office space, at 1398 Gotham St.

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