Reprinted from the Asbury Park Press: Plan could bring Oceanport 200 jobs

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CONTACT: Violeta Peters, RN MA, CEO
Reprinted from the Asbury Park Press: Plan could bring Oceanport 200 jobs

A medical facility that could initially bring 150 to 200 jobs to Oceanport and save the former Paterson Army Hospital from the wrecking ball could be operational next year. The project is still in the talking phase, but an initial lease between the Lakewood company that wants to do it and the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority could be signed next month.AcuteCare Health Services wants to take over the 53-year-old building on the former Fort Monmouth property — most recently used as a Veterans Administration health clinic — for its new program and other separate, health care-related uses, according to company president Daniel Czermak.

Czermak said his company wants to use part of the building for a new business that would offer “frail and elderly” patients nursing home-type services on an outpatient basis, as well as provide in-home health aides.

This is a departure from the company’s core business, which is establishing long-term acute-care hospitals within established hospitals. The company has two such centers at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, and Kimball Medical Center, Lakewood. The rest of the building would be occupied by other health care-related companies, Czermak said, bringing even more jobs into the area.

AcuteCare is negotiating for the property with FMERA, the state agency charged with shepherding the redevelopment of the former fort property.

Czermak said the deal has to pass muster with the state and the Army before anything is signed.

If everything goes smoothly, he said, the program could be operational in 12 to 18 months. The center would be operated by a management company controlled by AcuteCare, Czermak said.

Czermak said the program would not need all the space in the 60,000-square-foot building, but would serve as the “anchor tenant to bring multiple medical capabilities to the area.”

Czermak said he is talking to “some very reputable health care providers” to “bring some outpatient services to the building.”

The project would require gutting the hospital’s interior, but would not require external renovations, Czermak said.

FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman said if the deal is done, AcuteCare will initially sublease the property from FMERA before acquiring it. A lease-purchase agreement between AcuteCare and FMERA was on FMERA’s agenda for its April 24 meeting, but was removed.

Steadman said the item was pulled because a lease agreement between FMERA and the Army — which still owns the fort property — has not yet been struck.

“We can’t go much further with the sublease to AcuteCare,” he said. “I expect it to be on the board’s agenda for the May meeting.”

Steadman said that the deal also would require an amendment to the fort property’s reuse plan because the plan calls for the demolition of the hospital building.

“We’re working on that now,” he said.

Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon said the borough is “delighted” about the plan.

“We hope that moves forward,” he said.

“We’re hoping that this is a home run for FMERA, the community and us,” Czermak said. “We are doing something that is going to be exciting and helpful to the community.”
The project would require gutting the hospital’s interior, but would not require external renovations, Czermak said.

FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman said if the deal is done, AcuteCare will initially sublease the property from FMERA before acquiring it. A lease-purchase agreement between AcuteCare and FMERA was on FMERA’s agenda for its April 24 meeting, but was removed.

Steadman said the item was pulled because a lease agreement between FMERA and the Army — which still owns the fort property — has not yet been struck.

“We can’t go much further with the sublease to AcuteCare,” he said. “I expect it to be on the board’s agenda for the May meeting.”

Steadman said that the deal also would require an amendment to the fort property’s reuse plan because the plan calls for the demolition of the hospital building.

“We’re working on that now,” he said.

Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon said the borough is “delighted” about the plan.

“We hope that moves forward,” he said.

“We’re hoping that this is a home run for FMERA, the community and us,” Czermak said. “We are doing something that is going to be exciting and helpful to the community.”

“We can’t go much further with the sublease to AcuteCare,” he said. “I expect it to be on the board’s agenda for the May meeting.”

Steadman said that the deal also would require an amendment to the fort property’s reuse plan because the plan calls for the demolition of the hospital building.

“We’re working on that now,” he said.

Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon said the borough is “delighted” about the plan.“We hope that moves forward,” he said.

“We’re hoping that this is a home run for FMERA, the community and us,” Czermak said. “We are doing something that is going to be exciting and helpful to the ommunity.”

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