This Week on Campus
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why would the Township of Montclair and the Borough of Glen Ridge seek to designate properties surrounding HackensackUMC Mountainside as an "Area in Need of Redevelopment" or “Area in Need of Rehabilitation”? (5/1/15)
A: The Glen Ridge Borough Council and the Montclair Township Council authorized their Planning Boards to conduct a preliminary investigation and public hearing, and make a recommendation as to whether properties surrounding HackensackUMC Mountainside meets the statutory criteria for designation as an “area in need of redevelopment,” pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law (“LRHL”) of the New Jersey Statutes, and/or whether the properties within the Study Area meet the statutory requirements for an “area in need of rehabilitation” designation pursuant to the LRHL. In order to designate a Redevelopment Area, the LRHL requires that a governing body first authorize the Planning Board, by resolution, to determine whether the proposed area is a redevelopment area according to the criteria set forth in the New Jersey Statutes. The Planning Board, or its consultant, then conducts the investigation and holds a public hearing. HackensackUMC Mountainside is agreeable to the study and will collaborate with both municipalities to deliver tangible improvements to our facilities.
Q: What is HackensackUMC Mountainside’s historical, current and future tax responsibility to the Township of Montclair and the Borough of Glen Ridge? (5/1/15)
A: HackensackUMC Mountainside has been part of the community for almost 125 years. For most of that time (from 1891 to 2006) the hospital was a not-for-profit entity. During this period, the hospital was exempt from paying property taxes. Since the inception of the Federal income tax, the Congress has exempted certain types of entities from taxation. A not-for-profit hospital entity qualifies for exemption if it is organized and operated for charitable purposes and meets additional criteria. The promotion of health has long been recognized as a charitable purpose that is beneficial to the community as a whole.
In 2007, the hospital was sold to Merit Health Systems, a for-profit entity, and the organization began to pay property taxes to both the Township of Montclair and the Borough of Glen Ridge. In 2012, the hospital was sold to a joint venture of LHP Hospital Group, Inc. and Hackensack University Health Network. It continues to operate as a for-profit entity, to pay property taxes to both municipalities, and to pay sales tax to the State of New Jersey.
In the initial renderings of the campus improvement project, the Medical Office Building straddles the town border of Glen Ridge and Montclair. As a result, both municipalities stand to receive a tax payment benefit from the proposed development.
Q: What is a PILOT and is there a PILOT agreement in place for the project? (5/1/15)
A: PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreements are tax structures, negotiated by municipalities and developers to promote community development and property improvements in targeted areas. PILOT agreements are often used as an incentive to spur development in an Area in Need of Redevelopment or Rehabilitation.
The process of considering the properties surrounding HackensackUMC Mountainside as an Area in Need of Redevelopment or Rehabilitation has not been completed and therefore, no PILOT agreement has been reached.
The Township of Montclair and the Borough of Glen Ridge will benefit from a PILOT agreement by receiving a larger percentage of the overall tax collected because less will be sent to the County of Essex.
Q: How will this project impact affordable housing in Montclair? (5/1/15)
A: HackensackUMC Mountainside owns eight houses in the area designated for campus improvement. By and large, these houses are used by hospital consultants and interim employees with a few exceptions. As a result, the project will have little to no impact on the current availability of affordable housing in the area.
Montclair was recently recognized with a national award as a “best practice” example of comprehensive community revitalization that focuses on local cultural, architectural, and business assets, as well as community pride, to bolster community development. Our project is in line with the vision of that award. We are committed to improve our facilities to better serve patients and families and to contribute to the vitality of Glen Ridge, Montclair and the surrounding area.
Q: Who is the architect and the general contractor - what is their track record? (3/13/15)
A: The Hampshire Companies, a fully integrated real estate company with an extensive medical office building portfolio, will be our developer for the project. The Hampshire Companies has engaged NK Architects for the project. The Hampshire Companies has the experience and track record to help us meet our goals for a world class medical facility.
Q:Since you have selected a developer, can you share the preliminary renderings of your new building? (2/24/2015)
A:We are actively engaged in the studies phase of the Medical Office Building project. This phase includes a review of research we’ve collected, site studies and an evaluation of the needs of prospective tenants. We want to ensure the project meets the highest standards of a world class medical office building. Renderings developed at this point are highly conceptual and are intended to address engineering, budget and environmental issues as well as building codes and ordinances. We are working to move through the studies phase as quickly as possible. Upon completion of the studies phase, we will be ready to share proposed concepts with the community.
Q: What are the plans for the new medical facility?
A: Our goal is to build a modern medical facility to meet the needs of our physicians and patients and to deliver world class health care to our community by drawing upon the substantial clinical resources of Hackensack University Health Network. The plan is to replace the outdated School of Nursing building across from the main hospital with a 3 story, 60,000 square foot facility. The building will house between 40 and 50 primary care physicians and specialists.
Q: Is this an expansion of the hospital?
A: No, in fact, the footprint of the new building will be smaller than the one that currently exists. We are building on land that is already part of the campus.
Q: Does the current building have any historic value?
A: While the building has sentimental value to some, it has no historical designation. A portion of the building is 100 years old and an annex was added in 1940 to serve as a dormitory for nursing students. Today, the building is old and outdated. It is no longer up to the standards of what our community expects from a modern medical facility.
Q: Why not renovate the current building to bring it up to modern standards?
A: The building has outlived its usefulness and it would be cost prohibitive to retrofit the building to bring it up to modern standards.
Q: How will the building help recruit doctors and medical practices?
A: The communities served by HackensackUMC Mountainside expect access to the best doctors and specialists, close to home. In response to these expectations, we seek to recruit and retain the region’s top doctors. Physicians and specialists of this caliber require Class A office space to build their practices and to make a permanent, full time commitment to our community. HackensackUMC Mountainside can build on its strong physician network and make use of the significant resources of Hackensack University Health Network by providing a home for this critical physician group.
Q: Has a developer been chosen for the site?
A: Yes, we are pleased that the Hampshire Companies, a fully integrated real estate company with an extensive medical office building portfolio, will be our developer for the project. The Hampshire Companies has the experience and the track record to help us meet our goals for a world class medical facility.
Q: What is the timeline for the project?
A: The project is slated to begin in 2015 and the anticipated occupancy date is February, 2017.
Q: What will be the impact of demolition of the current building?
A: The demolition of the current building will be performed with care and consideration for our neighbors. Every effort will be made to mitigate any inconveniences that may occur. And, of course, HackensackUMC Mountainside will ensure that all local and state building codes and guidelines are strictly followed.
Q: What will happen to the Nursing School and the other programs that are now housed in the building?
A: The School of Nursing is moving to the campus of Montclair State University, effective January 5, 2015. Small Wonders Day Care, a nursery school, is closing effective December 19, 2014. Our Outpatient Behavioral Health department will be moving to Verona in the Spring of 2015. Our Finance Staff will be moving into hospital offices, also in the Spring of 2015.
Q: How will traffic be impacted by the construction and eventual completion of the building?
A: During construction, we will make every effort to mitigate traffic inconveniences that might occur. We are sensitive to the impact this may cause and we will endeavor to be good neighbors in the process. A traffic study will be mounted to measure the impact of the building on the surrounding roads.
Q: How will parking be configured?
A: The current plan includes an increase of 239 parking spaces. This number will be confirmed as soon as the medical office building footprint, additional surface lot parking and surrounding green space plans are finalized. The proposed new spaces will be located on the reconfigured medical office building site and in a new surface lot created on an empty lot and on adjacent properties owned by the hospital across from the Emergency Department. The additional parking will be partially offset by traffic moving off campus, including: 120 students and 12 faculty and staff from the School of Nursing; 13 staff members and 48 patients from Outpatient Behavioral Health and 12 Day Care Center staff members. Additional convenient and accessible parking will allow us to better serve our patients and their families.
Q: Will the building and parking areas be configured to help preserve green space?
A: We value the green space that exists on the site and we will make every effort to preserve the trees, foliage and landscaping that define the area. We are committed to ensure that the new building’s grounds will be aesthetically pleasing and well maintained.
Q: What impact will the building have on the local sewer infrastructure?
A: HackensackUMC Mountainside is responsible for cleaning its sewer lines that connect to the public sewer system. Our sewer maintenance program includes having our sewer catch basins, storm pits and sewer lines professionally cleaned on a quarterly basis and we have diligently kept to this schedule. HackensackUMC Mountainside does not control, nor is it responsible for the sewer lines once they reach the public infrastructure that is owned and maintained by the Borough of Glen Ridge and the Township of Montclair. Sewer line problems can result from a variety of circumstances. A recently discussed problem was caused by a large piece of slate that broke in the public lines. This occurrence did not involve the hospital.
Q: What will be the hours of operation for the new facility?
A: Typically, the building will be active during business hours, Monday through Friday, and include limited hours on weekends.
Q: How have town officials in Glen Ridge and Montclair been involved thus far?
A: Leaders and town officials in both Glen Ridge and Montclair have been an integral part of the conversation from the beginning of the process. HackensackUMC Mountainside has briefed the planning officials of both towns and we will continue to engage in the necessary procedures to secure approvals for the project. We look forward to working with Glen Ridge and Montclair to ensure we meet their building requirements and standards.
Q: How will residents have the opportunity to provide input and voice concerns during the project?
A: HackensackUMC Mountainside has and will continue to provide information, updates and share plans with our neighbors and the communities we serve. In recent months, we have held public information sessions and have reached out to the local media to engage the residents of Glen Ridge and Montclair. We are fully committed to open and honest dialogue as we move forward with this important project.
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