In a major step promoting prevention rather than cure of ill health, the state has just announced a $156 million plan to build a combined housing and medical facility in The Bronx.
“The combination of supportive housing and preventive health care is going to have a significant and positive impact on people living in the Bronx who struggle with chronic diseases, including those impacted by mental illness,” said NYS Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker.
The St. Barnabas Wellness Care and Affordable Housing project will be built on two parcels of under-used land adjacent to the existing medical center.
A total of 314 units of housing will be built, all of it affordable. 30 percent of the units will be set aside for the formerly homeless.
The medical space, affordable housing and on-site programs will focus on preventative care and wellness with the goal of stemming physical and mental health issues that have plagued communities in the Bronx for generations, including lung disease, asthma, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
“In tune with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s vision, we take a holistic approach to the developments we finance,” said HCR Commissioner James S. Rubin.
“The St. Barnabas development is good for the State, good for the City, good for the Bronx, and will be great for the people who will live here. Providing better, more wide-reaching and accessible health care, healthy living services and education for the community and the residents is not only the only right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, it also allows the state to realize the Medicaid savings that are used to fund developments such as this one.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) is a partner on the project along with New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) SBH Health System (St. Barnabas Hospital), L+M Development Partners and Hornig Capital Partners.
“This project will be one of our borough’s premier new developments,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The synergism of housing, wellness and commercial components is a unique concept and one that will realize not only affordable rental housing for my constituents, but also a health and wellness enriched environment with retail servicing the needs of the community.”
The development sites are located at 4451 Third Avenue and 4439 Third Avenue in the Belmont section of the Bronx.
The North Site, 4451 Third Avenue, will contain a two-tower, seven- to 11-story building with 181 apartments. SBH Health System will operate 57,000 s/f of community facility space in the building, including an ambulatory care center, a pediatric center, a women’s health center, and a Mind-Body center equipped with indoors and outdoor fitness areas and a teaching kitchen.
Much of the fresh produce used in the teaching kitchen will be grown on the building’s rooftop farm operated by Project EATS. The building’s rooftop will also contain a terrace for residents of the building.
SBH Health System plans to open a patient education center to engage patients as partners in their own care and treatment, which studies have shown can improve health outcomes.
SBH Health System will also operate an outdoor terrace designed to accommodate stress reduction activities through the inclusion of a walking path, yoga pavilion, and multi-use area for meditation and Tai Chi.
The North Site will include 10,000 s/f of commercial space for a local pharmacy, healthy food café, and other retailers.
The healthy food café is envisioned as a new dining option for people living and working in the area and as a source of prepared to-go meals. The prepared meals are intended to provide an easy, healthy and affordable family meal as an alternative to a fast food dinner.
A weekly farmer’s market will also serve to enhance access to fresh produce for the wider neighborhood.
The South Site, located at 4439 Third Avenue, will include a 12-story residential building with 133 units of affordable housing and an extended-hours daycare — with outdoor space — to accommodate hospital staff, patients and working families who need childcare at off-hours. Amenities for residents will include outdoor recreation space, a laundry room, bike room, and community room.
The development will contain 95 units of housing for formerly homeless families and individuals across both sites. The supportive housing component will be managed by BronxWorks, a human service and settlement house based in the Bronx.
“There is no better way to mark our 150th anniversary than with this partnership to positively transform health care in the Bronx,” said Dr. David Perlstein, President and Chief Executive Officer, SBH Health System. “This expansion will provide the primary care and mental health resources needed to make the Bronx a healthier place for residents of all backgrounds. We thank L+M Development Partners and Hornig Capital Partners for working with us to make this new development possible.”
“This project adds to the thousands of affordable homes we’ve built in the Bronx to strengthen communities and help provide essential services,” said Ron Moelis, CEO and Founding Partner of L+M Development Partners.
“From new healthy food options to the tobacco-free policy, we’ve taken a top-to-bottom approach to help Bronxites engage in a healthier daily routine, improve access to vital health care services and give working families a fresh start in a new home.”
“We are proud to be part of this dynamic mixed-use development that will expand important community services and provide vibrant new residential, healthcare and health conscious retail space,” said Daren Hornig, Managing Partner of Hornig Capital Partners.
“These developments in collaboration with SBH Health System will truly activate these sites and bring long-term benefits to the neighborhood and the future of the new Bronx.”
Both buildings will be designed using active design concepts to encourage the use of stairways; include advanced air filtration to help combat vehicle emissions; and use an interior paint that breaks down air pollutants. Solar panels will be installed at both sites.
The developers anticipate Enterprise Green Communities-certification and will participate in the Multifamily NYSERDA program. The project was designed by Dattner Architects.
Around 26 percent of adults in the Bronx are in poor or fair health, compared to 16 percent statewide and 10 percent nationwide, according to a recent study by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Last year, Bronx County was ranked the least-healthy county among New York State’s 62 counties for the sixth year in a row.
Both residential buildings will be smoke-free and no cigarette smoking will be allowed anywhere outdoors on either site. Additionally, the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products will not be permitted in any of the retail spaces in the new development.
The site also incorporates below-grade parking, no idling zones, and bike parking.