Nursing home closed, for sale

August 28, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

S. HUNTINGTON AVE.—The Pond View Nursing Facility at 81 S. Huntington Ave. closed its doors in June and is for sale with a $3 million price tag, co-owner Leonard Wettenberg told the Gazette.

Various institutions have already begun nibbling—most recently, a potential buyer interested in turning the nursing home into a community center.

“That would be terrific,” Wettenberg said.

Leonard and Caroline Wettenberg ran the 43-bed nursing home for 20 years. They closed shop because they are retiring, Leonard Wettenberg said.

“We’ve actually been trying to sell the place as a nursing facility for a year, a year-and-a-half,” he said. “In this day and age, nobody would do it.”

He said all of the residents were moved to the same floor of the same facility—the Brighton at Medford nursing home in Medford—in a deal arranged by the Wettenberg’s son, who is also a nursing home administrator.

“The thing you have to worry about is when you move an elderly patient like that, it’s like losing their home,” Leonard Wettenberg said. “We wanted to make it as undramatic as possible.”

Pond View sits on a 6,900-square-foot lot between S. Huntington and the Jamaicaway, along an alley known as Crafton Way. The back of the building overlooks Leverett Pond in Olmsted Park.

The property is valued at about $1.4 million for tax purposes by the city’s Assessing Department. It falls into a Neighborhood Institutional Subdistrict of the local zoning code. Allowed uses under that zoning include “community uses,” residential and health care, according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

A prep school and the nearby Home for Little Wanderers children’s service organization both took a look at Pond View but didn’t buy, according to Leonard Wettenberg. He said the Home was interested in temporary children’s housing during the planned reconstruction of its 161 S. Huntington facilities.

Kenneth Hamberg, the Home’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, confirmed the Home’s former interest in the property in a written statement to the Gazette. He said the property is “too expensive for a short-term alternative for the needs of our program.”

That stretch of S. Huntington has seen a burst of institutional development in recent years, including an expansion of the Sherrill House nursing home and an American Cancer Society residence for families of Longwood Medical Area cancer patients. Pond View sits next to a large lot formerly owned by the North American Indian Center of Boston that is expected to be redeveloped.

The Wettenbergs ended up taking over the Pond View after Caroline, a nurse, came in as a consultant when the former owners “ran into trouble with the state,” Leonard Wettenberg said. She was in charge of patient care, while he handled the business end.

“We met a lot of people, made a home for elderly patients,” Leonard Wettenberg said. “It was rewarding.”