They’ll have a lot of room to stretch out.
New York University reached an agreement with developer Fortis Property Group on Thursday to double the amount of medical space in its planned healthcare facility inside the luxury residential complex on the former Long Island College Hospital campus in Cobble Hill. The state touted the move as the silver lining in the fraught process of closing and selling the former medical center, but glossed over the fact that staffing levels at the new facility would stay about the same under the latest terms.
“This is a tremendous outcome under any circumstance, but especially given the many roadblocks and difficulties we have faced trying to close the deal,” State University of New York chairman Carl McCall said.
The university closed the lease, and publicized some of the details of the planned medical outpost, in conjunction with Fortis finalizing terms of its purchase of the land from the state. The new medical development will include a new, $175-million building standing four stories and housing a staff of 400, including 70 doctors, according to New York University Langone Medical Center.
Services in the newly constructed medical center are supposed to include an emergency department, ambulatory operating rooms, specialty practices, a cancer center, a clinical laboratory, and radiology services. Lutheran Medical Center will also open a health clinic somewhere in Brooklyn as part of the deal.
The university is set assume control of the current emergency department, which the state is operating for now, once the state comptroller and attorney general sign off on the sale. It has pledged to operate the interim emergency unit, which it has already invested $5 million in, until the new building is complete in 2018. All that’s left now is getting signatures on paperwork, according to a rep for the Manhattan-based hospital chain.
“We are now awaiting necessary regulatory and governmental approvals. Once secured, NYU Langone will move quickly to finalize site preparations, deploy staff and commence operation of a full-service [emergency department] under NYU Langone’s license,” a spokeswoman said.
Fortis has agreed to reimburse the state for running the emergency department from May 23 until Aug. 31 — when a lawsuit filed by staffers unions nearly scuttled the deal. Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Johnny Lee Baynes threw out the lawsuit after McCall threatened to walk away from the emergency room.
The university now says it hopes to return ambulance service to the site “as soon as possible.” Once ambulances are back, university bean counters expect the center to treat 35 to 50 patients a day and employ two private ambulances to transfer patients to nearby hospitals when needed.
Jon Berall, a Brooklyn Heights physician and longtime advocate for keeping the Cobble Hill hospital open, said the latest iteration of the redevelopment plan is no good because it still lacks a full-service hospital, and that the lack of one will kill people.
“Certain treatments, particularly for heart attacks and strokes, are very time-sensitive,” he said. “This doesn’t help anyone who’s in a real emergency.”
Fortis has so far released very few details about its planned development on the two square blocks of land with views of the Statue of Liberty. The compound is supposed to include rental units, condos, and townhouses, one quarter of them below-market-rate, according to a preliminary proposal.