After two years of construction, the nine-story Calko Medical Center had a lavish ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, March 20.
What was once a funeral home and then an empty lot on the corner of Bay Parkway and 60th Street is now a state-of-the-art outpatient medical center, which looks more like a swanky hotel.
The brainchild of Dr. Robert Kodsi, a gastroenterologist at Maimonides Medical Center, and developer Mark Caller of the Marcal Group, the medical center will house one of the largest endoscopy programs in the country with the latest imaging equipment.
Brooklyn Surgical Center, Genesis Fertility, Borough Park Anesthesia Associates Pain Management Center and Dr. Jack Choeka and Maimonides Medical Center Orthopedic Group are also part of the center.
In addition, the center will be the home of the Brooklyn Nets orthopedic group, with a special facility with ceilings nine and a half feet high to accommodate the players.
Borough President Marty Markowitz attended the exciting ribbon cutting complete with music from the four-piece DG Management Jazz Band and a spread by Diamond Catering.
Our borough is now home to the most sophisticated, innovative outpatient medical facility in the Northeast, Markowitz said.
Its truly a model for health care facilities of the future. Instead of sending lab work outside, this will keep all the work here, he went on, adding that it will bring more jobs and will attract the best doctors to the area.
Kodsi said that the idea behind Calko was to change the way we give care, create jobs and increase the quality of care and that he was fortunate and blessed to have collaborated with Caller.
However, Calko is no stranger to controversy.
As the construction plans were being approved by the city in 2011, Caller applied for a variance to reduce the number of required parking spaces. Residents, members of the Neighbors for the Preservation and Development of Southwest Brooklyn and Assemblymember Bill Colton attended each and every Board of Standards and Appeals hearing, contending that the proposed 116 parking spaces were not enough.
After hearing their pleas, the BSA decided that there must be 177 spots.
People in the community are happy that the eyesore is gone and that theres a beautiful structure, although very big, said Anna Cali, president of the Neighbors for the Preservation and Development of Southwest Brooklyn. We are confident that Calko will stick to the resolution of 177 spots.
Cali added that Kodsi has reached out to the community regarding job information and an internship program with Bishop Kearney High School, which is directly across the street.
Overall its been a good thing and at this point we have to accept it, Cali said. Instead of trying to be apart, we are going to come together as a community with the new building to make the community a better place.
Calko is expected to be fully operational in the next few weeks.