Old St. Joseph’s Hospital In Dickinson To Be Used For Mental Health Services

On February 1st, I read an article in the Dickinson Press Newspaper about the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dickinson being purchased and renovated, to be used as a location for Mental Health Services.

The buyer of the old St. Joseph’s Hospital property is a man named Andres Mejia, who is currently employed at the new St. Alexius Hospital in Dickinson as their director of risk management and quality.  I wasn’t certain that Andres Mejia was going to be the actual owner of the property, or if he was acting as an agent for some branch of Catholic Health Initiatives.

I looked up Andres Mejia in Dickinson, and I read that in August of 2018, Mejia Property Management LLC was registered in North Dakota with Andres Leonardo Mejia-Fuentes listed as the agent, and his home address was used, so this does appear to be a personal undertaking of Andres Mejia, not Catholic Health Initiatives.

I believe that Andres Mejia was led to believe that if he created a space for Mental Health Services in Dickinson, that the Federal Government, North Dakota State Government, Southwest North Dakota Health Services, Catholic Health Initiatives, corporate medical group health care providers, and private practice health care providers would all participate in providing funds and paying rents, because there is a huge gap in Mental Health Services in southwest North Dakota.

Andres Mejia may believe that it is almost certain, that if he purchased the old St. Joseph’s Hospital, performed the necessary renovations, and subdivided the space at the old St. Joseph’s Hospital according to what each health care provider tenant required, that the rents he received and the appreciating value of the property would make him successful in the long run.

When I read the headline and the first paragraph of the Dickinson Press Newspaper article about this plan, I had a great deal of doubt that this was a good idea.  I began to think about what would happen to me if I tried to do this, even if I was able to purchase the old St. Joseph’s Hospital for just $1.

If I started out by purchasing the old St. Joseph’s Hospital for just $1, with this property sitting vacant like it is right now, here is what I estimate my ownership costs would be:

  • Yearly property taxes………………………………………….$5,000
  • Yearly insurance for property damage & liability……………$5,000
  • Yearly electric costs, heating in Winter……………………….$12,000
  • Snow removal and grounds maintenance…………………….$5,000
  • Interior routine maintenance……………………………………$1,000

Subtotal  $28,000 per year, while vacant

With an old building like this, you could expect to have to have to perform roof, plumbing, window, or heating repairs:

Add $10,000 for normal repairs per year, while vacant

Because I am not Catholic, and this is Dickinson, I could be sure that the Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, the Health Department, and local contractors would all get together at their Knights of Columbus meetings to come up with a plan to try to financially break me which would include:

  • Citations for asbestos, asbestos contamination, and required removal.
  • Citations for lead paint, lead paint contamination, and lead paint removal.
  • Citations for mold, black mold, mold contamination, and remediation.
  • Citations for elevator, and elevator required retrofitting.
  • Citations for fire escape, and fire escape required retrofitting.
  • Citations for electrical, plumbing, and boiler not being up to code and required renovation.

For me, there would never be an end to the Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, Health Department, Property Tax Appraiser, other Government officials, and local contractors trying to come up with schemes to financially break me:

Add another $2 million, for the cost of Corruption in Dickinson

To top everything off, if I had personally purchased the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dickinson, for even just $1, I would probably not be able to find a buyer who was willing to pay me $1 for it, because of the awareness of the ownership costs that I listed up above.  If I did sell it, I would probably later be sued by the buyer for non-disclosure of my knowledge that the building was haunted.

Even if Andres Mejia didn’t face the $2 million cost of every Government Official in Dickinson trying to find something wrong with this building and force him to correct it, what if the owner of the large new vacant retail building in the Menards shopping area suddenly makes a large donation to Catholic Health Initiatives, and they start liking him and his new building, more than they like Andres Mejia and his old building?

What if Andres Mejia begins making renovations to the old St. Joseph’s Hospital building, spending several hundred thousand dollars, and meanwhile there is a change in leadership at Catholic Health Initiatives, Southwest North Dakota Health Services, or a corporate health care provider that had previously stated verbally that they were committed to occupying his building once the renovations were completed?

What if Governor Doug Burgum shows up suddenly out of no-where, and convinces the Federal Government, North Dakota State Government, Southwest North Dakota Health Services, corporate health care groups, and private practice health care providers that Bismarck is more centrally located and more easily reachable by everyone in North Dakota?

I would not want to be in Andres Mejia’s position.  The cost of ownership of this old building is high, and it is to be expected that there will be expensive routine repairs needed, even when this building is vacant.  There is also the potential that the Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, Health Department, and local contractors could financially ruin this project and Andres Mejia by creating renovation costs that will never be able to be recovered or overcome.

There is also no guarantee that the verbal enthusiasm Andres Mejia has heard about creating a health care facility to provide treatment for Mental Health, Drug Addiction, and Rehabilitation will materialize into anyone actually becoming a tenant.

Andres Mejia may have had good intentions, but hardly anyone else in Dickinson does.  Dickinson is an area where people have so little opportunity to get ahead, that they have become accustomed to helping other people to fail so that no one else can get ahead either.  In particular, they like to encourage people to buy property here, spend money to make improvements on the property, financially ruin them, then scoop up their recently improved properties for very little money after they have financially bankrupted them.

Mental Health Services that could soon be offered in Dickinson:

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