Montefiore Medical Center has pulled the plug on its proposed Riverdale outpatient facility following a short history marked by public outcry and redesigns.
Planned as an 11-story, 93,000 square foot building at Riverdale Avenue, the project immmediately raised concern among residents claiming it would be detrimental to the community.
At its original height, Montefiore’s outpatient facility would have overshadowed neighboring small businesses which are mostly 1-story tall.
This resulted in Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz passing a law last March for any Bronx healthcare complex measuring over three stories and 30,000 square feet to endure a lengthy review process.
Such projects were required to undergo a series of mandatory community forums before receiving approval by the state Department of Health.
In September, Montefiore Medical Center and Simone Healthcare Development unveiled a redesign complying with legislation and residents’ feedback to Community Board 8’s Land Use Committee.
It was scaled back to a 6-story, 29,000 square foot building with two medical facility floors and three parking garage floors.
Montefiore said in a September press statement the facility would have had 25 highly-accomplished doctors specializing in internal medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, and many other services.
Assemblyman Dinowitz confirmed the Riverdale community was opposed to this facility even after its revision.
“It was a great idea in the abstract, but in reality this was a really bad spot to have the facility. Traffic is already an issue here and many felt that having the outpatient medical clinic in this location would have made it even worse,” the assemblyman explained.
The decision to withdraw this project was announced Friday, March 13 during a meeting with state officials at Dinowitz’s office.
“The withdrawal of Montefiore’s proposal to build a traffic-generating medical center in a residential neighborhood is a major victory for the Riverdale community.
Local elected officials delivered the community’s concerns to Montefiore and Simone Development and our open, ongoing dialogue led to a very positive outcome. It’s a win-win for our community,” Senator Klein stated.
“Montefiore has been listening closely to the Riverdale community for the past year and we value the feedback we have received.
“Working with Riverdale’s elected officials, community board, and residents, we have decided not to pursue building on the Riverdale Avenue site and will instead explore how we can enhance our existing services in the neighborhood. Moving forward, we will continue to offer Riverdale residents the exceptional healthcare they have come to expect from Montefiore for decades,” Lynn Richmond, Montefiore Health System executive vice president said.
“This is good news for the community who made it clear this building was too big. Though Montefiore is highly regarded in the community and practices first class medicine, they should be congratulated for having respected the community’s wishes in regards to this facility and its location,” Charles Moerdler, CB 8 Land Use Committee chairman divulged.
On Monday, March 30, Senator Gustavo Rivera said the Health and Mental Hygeine Budget passed 60 to one, containing a provision that repealed Klein’s legislation.
“While I strongly believe community input should be a key part of any development project, the provision added in last year’s budget had the potential to needlessly delay or prevent the construction of new healthcare facilities in our borough. As the county that continuously ranks last in health in New York State, Bronx residents could not afford to have yet another obstacle standing in the way of the healthcare they need,” Senator Rivera expressed.
According to Dinowitz, Simone Development recently proposed a 14-story luxury housing complex for the site following the outpatient facility’s dissolution.