EXCLUSIVE: Drug and alcohol rehab center looking at Ridge location

A new in-patient drug and alcohol facility could be coming to Bay Ridge.

This paper has learned that ACI, a for-profit entity founded over 40 years ago, is looking into leasing three floors at the former Victory Memorial Hospital, 9036 Seventh Avenue.

“What they plan to have at the location would be a total of 90 beds,” said Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, explaining that, on Monday, May 4, the board held a last-minute Senior Issues, Housing Health and Welfare Committee meeting at request of the company. “They are currently operating on West 57th Street (in Manhattan) and they are not able to renew their lease so they’re looking for other locations. They came across this space, and while they haven’t entered into a formal lease, as part of the OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services) process, they are required to come to the community board to continue.”

ACI’s proposal, Beckmann said, would involve three floors of the former hospital, with varying degrees of rehab patients.

“There will be a certain percent of short-term beds, and a larger amount of other longer-term accommodations,” she went on adding that the volume of the proposal was quick to raise red flags with the committee.

“A lot of committee members thought that [90 beds] was a very large size and that it may not be an appropriate place for it,” Beckmann said, echoing the sentiments of a board member who called this paper to voice his concerns about this project’s potential.

“What I am riled up about is not the fact that it’s a rehab center – we should be helping people who have addictions – but that this is such a large proposal,” said the board member. “If this was 10, 15 or 20 beds, you wouldn’t be getting a phone call. Ninety beds is a threat to the community, in my opinion.”

Neighbors of the site in question, the source went on, are also a cause for concern.

“It is across the street from the Greek School of Plato,” he said, adding that, in his opinion, the needs of the community often fall to the wayside when dealing with for-profits of ACI’s kind.

Already operating out of the old Victory Memorial Hospital is the Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the SUNY Downstate Medical Center at Bay Ridge, an urgent care facility. Nearby, at 9216 Seventh Avenue, is Poly Prep Country Day School.

CB 10 will vote on the matter at its June full board meeting. In the meantime, Beckmann said, the board is in the process of scheduling a public hearing so that local residents may hear out ACI’s proposal but also add their input.

As of this writing, ACI had not responded to a request for comment.


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