Despite protests from neighbors and the West Park Civic Association, St. Luke’s University Health Network yesterday began demolishing its former Annex Building, also known as the Donecker Mansion at 1801 Hamilton St. – across from its Allentown campus.
The hospital intends to build a 30,000-square-foot, $8 million medical office building that would house primary care and specialty medical practices on the site.
The neighborhood group had petitioned the hospital to incorporate the structure, which was built in 1925 and was part of what is known as “Millionaires Row”, into the new structure.
The hospital said it had studied repurposing the building, but found it would add another $1 million to the price of the project.
According to the civic association, the property was built by the Donecker family. The Bronstein family, which ran Trojan Powder, lived in the mansion from 1936 until what was then Allentown Osteopathic Hospital bought the property in 1984. It served as office and meeting space for the hospital since the late 1980s.
The building had been sitting vacant for more than a year, according to the hospital. Offices that had been in the building had to be moved out after the boiler broke down and couldn’t be replaced.