Long Island College Hospital could actually stay a hospital!
The state is planning to hand off the beleaguered Cobble Hill medical facility to the developer-medical-company partnership that plans to keep a full-service hospital on the premises as long as negotiations go smoothly, the State University of New York’s board of trustees announced on Thursday afternoon. It will be up to the winner, a group called Brooklyn Health Partners, to fulfill the promises of its proposal, the board’s head said.
“Everything that they propose in their proposal, we simply want them to pin down and execute,” State University of New York chairman Carl McCall said.
The group has offered up $250 million to build a “21st century” hospital operated by Quorum Health Resources that would accommodate 300 to 400 inpatient beds. The team, helmed by real estate developer and former clinical laboratory supervisor Merrell Schexnydre, will immediately establish a 150-bed temporary hospital with an emergency room, ambulatory care, intensive, care, and other medical facilities. That facility would remain open through construction of the new hospital, which will begin no later than two or three years after Long Island College Hospital closes next month, according to the group’s proposal. Brooklyn Health Partners has said it will employ former Long Island College Hospital doctors and medical staffers.
The team also plans to transform the Cobble Hill campus into a complex un-descriptively dubbed the Brooklyn Medical District, which would consist of 1,000 apartments, some of them below-market-rate, commercial space, and some medical offices.
The State University of New York will start negotiating with the winning bidder on Friday, and Brooklyn Health Partners will begin the regulatory approval process with the Department of Health that same day, board member Lora Lefebvre said on Thursday.
Brooklyn Health Partners beat out eight other bidders vying to redevelop the hobbled hospital that sits on real estate valued at more than $500 million. The Peebles Corporation, which submitted a plan that calls for dismantling the hospital and putting housing and an ambulatory surgery center and doctors’ offices in its place, got the second-highest rating from a committee of experts appointed as a part of the settlement of a lawsuit against the state over its attempts to close the hospital. Fortis Property Group, which also called for dismantling the hospital and building housing in its place and was once considered the state’s favorite, came in third.
A Fortis Property Group founder and his uncle, who does not work for the company, donated $17,500 to the campaign of Gov. Cuomo, who controls the State University of New York.
Anti-closure activists have long claimed that the state was trying to close the hospital, which it had said it would save, in order to flip the valuable land it sits on. McCall said the latest instructions from Cuomo were simpler and less insidious than all that.
“He said we wanted to see it resolved,” McCall recalled. “He just said go through the process and we’ll live with the result.”
Hospital advocates who have fought the state for more than a year said they are excited by the pick, but that they trust the hospital’s state university managers about as far as they can throw them.
“I’m happy, but we’ve got a long ways to go,” said Patients for LICH member Margaret Ablon. “We’re still concerned about SUNY.”