Thu, 15 Apr 2010

Nassau plan eyes $600M health system project

In what chief executive Arthur Gianelli called one of the largest building projects in Nassau County, NuHealth System announced Thursday it is looking for bids to begin developing 85 acres at the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility and Nassau University Medical Center campuses.

The two requests for proposals (RFPs) are part of a $600-million, five-year plan to develop tracts at the Uniondale nursing home and nearby East Meadow hospital. The plans are part of an envisioned Village for Healthy Living at the NUMC site, Gianelli said.

"We gain on two fronts," he said. "We can make some money, and, more importantly, we support the hospital and nursing home."

Gianelli said the projects will create 1,000 construction jobs and 800 new permanent jobs.

The health system, which has put up no money of its own, has joined with developers Health Care REIT Inc. of Toledo, Ohio.

One of the RFPs is for 388 units of senior housing, a 150- bed Medicaid assisted-living facility and 100,000 square feet of commercial office space at the Uniondale nursing home site.

Long Island-based NuHealth also hopes by the end of the year to begin building a new 320-bed nursing home next to the current facility, which will be torn down. The new $106-million home - not part of the current RFP - will be paid for by county, state and federal funds.

The second RFP is for housing for 280 medical school residents at the NUMC site and a new ambulatory surgery center with medical offices.

NuHealth counsel Robert Benrubi said the hope is to break ground for both the medical school resident housing and the A. Holly Patterson projects by the end of the year.

The Village also will eventually include a new ambulatory- care pavilion for outpatient treatment, a cancer center and a wellness center.

The transformation at A. Holly Patterson will be even more dramatic. In addition to the housing and new nursing home, the 64-acre campus is to include a 29-station dialysis clinic; a family health center with a special emphasis in geriatrics; 1,000 square feet of professional offices and retail space; a community center; ballfields and walking trails.

Some community leaders would like some senior housing units to be designated for affordable housing. Bishop R.W. Harris of Grace Cathedral in Uniondale said he would like to see at least 97 units for younger people to keep them in the community.

Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) said he would like 25 to 50 units of affordable housing. Abrahams said residents are concerned about adding more children to the school district and there is a misperception that affordable housing means lower-standard housing.

NuHealth spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said any change would have to be approved by the Town of Hempstead.

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