Brooklyn Hospital enters LICH bidding war

Brooklyn Hospital Center has jumped into the ongoing dispute over what will happen to the beleaguered Long Island College Hospital (LICH) with a new plan to turn the Cobble Hill site into a combination healthcare center and mixed-income housing complex.

According to Crain’s, Brooklyn Hospital, located in Fort Greene at 121 DeKalb Avenue, teamed up with an unnamed private equity firm and a real estate developer to draft a proposal that they unveiled on Wednesday, January 8.

Their plan is to close LICH as a full-service hospital and then transform part of it into an emergency- and outpatient-focused facility that employs as many current LICH employees as possible.

The primary comprehensive care center would consist of a “freestanding emergency department” would be open 24 hours a day and treat “non-critical acute illnesses or injuries” while also housing “radiology, laboratory and endoscopy services, outpatient surgery, an infusion center, outpatient physical therapy, and physician offices.”

Inpatient services would be housed at Brooklyn Hospital’s Fort Greene location.

Two additional urgent care centers would also be built nearby. Also proposed nearby would be two clinics to provide adult and pediatric primary and specialty care services.

The rest of the valuable real estate would be sold and developed into 1,000 mixed-income residential units, at least 350 of them marked as affordable housing.

Brooklyn Hospital’s plan comes nearly four months after the September 16, 2013 request-for-proposals (RFP) deadline set forth by LICH owner SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

That RFP process had yielded seven proposals, one of which was selected as the most promising, and which was tabled for a vote by SUNY’s Board of Trustees after negative community reaction erupted.

The SUNY-considered proposal would sell the 20-building site at 339 Hicks Street to a developer to be transformed into 185,000-square-feet of luxury condominiums and 15,000-square-feet of urgent care center, physical therapy facilities, dentist offices, and other surgery space—to be run by NYC-based ProHealth. No emergency room is planned.

Brooklyn Hospital’s plan is likely not to be considered seriously by SUNY Downstate unless community approval becomes impossible to ignore.

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