UTICA, NY-- When the new Mohawk Valley Health System hospital is built downtown in 2022, it will leave three current hospitals empty, but there is a plan in place to re-purpose those buildings.
"We decided last year to start the process to select the appropriate consultant and this past February we selected CHA as our consultant to help us do what we're going to call re-purposing plan," said Robert Scholefield, COO and Executive Vice President of MVHS. "As a part of that we will do a full evaluation of our campuses, make sure that when it comes time to sell the properties that we have adequate information available to prospective purchasers that will make to sell the properties easier."
Engineering-consulting firm CHA Consulting Inc., based out of Albany, will conduct market research, zoning, redevelopment and any hazardous material at Faxton Hospital, St. Luke's Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center. Based on prior assessments, MVHS has indicated the Faxton Campus – which provides cancer treatment, outpatient rehabilitation and a variety of other services – will likely remain open; however, Faxton will be included in the study to ensure that keeping it open best meets the needs of MVHS and the community, according to press release by MVHS.
"The things that we heard regularly from the public was that they didn't want the buildings to be left abandon," Scholefield said. "So we fully anticipate through this re-purposing that we begin the process for selling the buildings as well, that will reassure the neighbors to both the properties that the buildings won't be left unused."
Scholefield said there are plenty of options for re-purposing the buildings.
"They could be used for re-purposing for offices, for medical offices, non-medical offices educational purposes, retail mixed use facilities with a combination of apartments, retail offices, so the opportunities for reuse are limitless."
John Swann, executive vice president of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, said the study couldn't have been conducted any earlier.
"Developing potential reuses of the sites involves marketing the site," he said. "So how can you market a site that's not yet available? In fact when we first started talking about this the availability but it was four, five years out what developer is going to want to come in and talk seriously? Now we're getting within 24 months 36 months now's the time to do the study, figure out what the best uses are and then MVHS can market the site appropriately."
The study is expected to take at least six months to complete. Scholefield said the public will have the chance to discuss what they would like to happen at those properties, but did not specify when.