Rescue Mission buys former nursing home space
Plans to transform a former nursing home into a new community care center are moving forward for The Bridgeport Rescue Mission.
The Park City nonprofit completed its purchase of the former Astoria Park Nursing Home, 725 Park Ave. BRM paid $2.15 million for the defunct building which will soon house several services.
“Bridgeport Rescue Mission has the vision to renovate this building to be the home of a care center which will enable us to expand our capacity to meet the basic human needs of the hungry, homeless and addicted,” said Executive Director, Terry Wilcox in a press release.
This marks BRM’s largest purchase, Wilcox added.
The five-story, 61,344 square-foot nursing home closed two years ago after the state Superior Court took control of its operations because of financial woes. The site is adjacent to Optimus Health Care’s primary care building on Black Rock Avenue.
Rescue Mission set its sights on the nursing home last year, with plans of revamping it and expanding the Mission’s services. The nonprofit, which is headquartered at 1088 Fairfield Ave., provides food, shelter, clothing, education, job training and counseling for the urban poor and addicted of Coastal Fairfield County.
The transaction was handled by Baldwin Pearson and Company Inc., which represented BRM; Fairfield-based Angel Commericial represented the seller, Laureate Astoria LLC, in the transaction.
“We are pleased that this building will be repurposed to help those in need,” said John Angel, president of Angel Commercial, in the press release
Plans are to use the former Astoria Park to house the mission’s faith-based, nine-month residential substance abuse recovery program, whose graduates can move in to the supportive housing as they seek employment and re-establish their lives.
Wilcox has said the recovery program could expand to 150 beds with the added space. A “free choice food pantry,” is also part of Wilcox’s plans for the refurbished facility.
Lastly, the mission’s administrative offices at 87 Washington Ave. will be folded into the Park Avenue site.
Wilcox has said renovations to the building would cost up to $10 million. Rescue Mission received a $2 million gift from philanthropist and retired Playtex president Joel Smilow of Southport toward that goal.
The nonprofit still has to come up with the remaining funding for the renovations, but the completed facility will be renamed the Joel Smilow Care Center at Bridgeport Rescue Mission.
Contributions from Brian Lockhart