PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Care New England is preparing to start demolishing some of the unused buildings on the old Memorial Hospital campus as the company looks to get a large section of the underused property redeveloped.

The hospital, which closed its doors in late 2017 due to ongoing financial challenges, was housed on a 13.4-acre campus between Brewster and Prospect streets, less than a mile from I-95 Exit 28.

Care New England expects to continue using half the campus for ambulatory patient clinics and staff parking, but executives say they want to make the other 6.7 acres available for redevelopment. Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien has also said the future of the site is a priority for City Hall.

The medical offices now operating at the old Memorial are only utilizing about 97,000 square feet of space on the campus, leaving 500,000 square feet of buildings vacant.

Joseph Iannoni, Care New England’s chief financial officer, said tearing down some of those structures is the next step, and the company has already obtained permits from the Department of Health to remove asbestos from a number of wood-frame buildings in preparation for demolition.

We would actually make the property more attractive to a developer if we start taking down those buildings, Iannoni said during a conference call Wednesday with Care New England bondholders.

According to Iannoni, a lot of developers have already expressed interest in acquiring the hospital campus, though he declined to share specifics. However, he added, It’s easy to say, ‘Jeez, it looks good,’ but after you look through the details it all falls apart. We’re trying not to be overly optimistic.

Every couple months somebody expresses some interest, added Care New England CEO Dr. James Fanale.

Mayor Grebien, who met with Care New England officials again on Tuesday, has been increasingly critical of how the company has handled Memorial’s closure. The company has not yet pulled any demolition permits from the city, according to his office.

The city’s position has always been that we need Care New England to deliver a pad-ready site to benefit our community, Grebien said in a statement.

Iannoni said the biggest hurdle to redeveloping Memorial is a restriction in the property deed from when the land was donated a century ago that limits its use. He said Care New England is starting to work with the city and the attorney general’s office, which monitors charitable assets, to get that changed.

The lawyers think it’s doable, Iannoni said.

The continued discussion over the Memorial property comes as Care New England is trying to win state approval for its proposed acquisition by Boston-based Brigham Health, a division of Partners HealthCare. Grebien told The Valley Breeze this week that the Pawtucket campus’s future needs to be factored into the transaction.

Ted Nesi ( covers politics and the economy for He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook