Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Some preliminary thoughts on the Muhlenberg Proposal

Former main entrance to Muhlenberg Hospital.
The hospital business in New Jersey has changed dramatically, even in the short space since Plainfield's beloved Muhlenberg Hospital closed.

More and more NJ hospitals are in desperate shape. Where money is to be made, as in North Jersey, pure economic muscle is used to quash anyone standing in the way of reopening Pascack Valley.

Where hospitals or some other medical configuration (so-called 'medical malls') are evidently no longer viable, the question now arises of what can be done with these large properties.

JFK's proposal for Muhlenberg is just one example.

The proposal invites serious reflection about what the economic possibilities are.

But for now, I want to focus on just one issue: continued emergency room presence.

If the long-term -- if not permanent -- provision of a satellite emergency department to serve the needs of the former Muhlenberg service area communities is not a key element of a successful plan, it will founder on community opposition.

A developer won't give a fig about emergency care for the communities.

JFK cannot be so blasé.

The question goes well beyond what kind of use can be made of Kenyon House to both reduce JFK's costs and provide adequate SED care.

Folks should avail themselves of opportunities to understand the JFK proposal as well as raise their concerns.

I will take up other aspects of the proposal later, but for now my perspective is that without a permanently guaranteed SED presence, there can hardly be a deal.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Alan Goldstein said...

If I understand JFK's plan, the satellite emergency room would be moved to Kenyon House (that houses the dialysis center)and upgraded to a state of the art facility. The hospital building would be torn down and replaced by two buildings with 600 or so "luxury apartments".

Aside from the loss of hospital services, residents in attendence at last night's Cedar Brook Block Association meeting (part of JFK's roadshow) voiced concerns that apartments will not attract the young professionals and retired boomers, but will quickly become low-income housing, drastically changing the neighborhood, reducing home values, and increasing crime and overcrowding.

The hole in JFK's rosy plan comes from its real estate experts themselves, Otteau Valuation Group.
According to Jeffrey Otteau in an article linked to on CLIPS, we are looking at a scenario for declining home values. How then can adding to the supply of residential housing do anything but exacerbate the expected decline?


As one resident said last night, experts often tell you what you want to hear. The contradictions voiced by Otteau are glaring and pretty rough stuff.

Time is running out faster than we think. We should not be looking for a sugar-daddy to bail out the situation.

We should be forceful advocating for the establishment of an economic development corporation; One substantially independent of City Hall, that can be pro-active putting together the jigsaw puzzle of re-establishing Plainfield's commercial base.

JFK looks like it wants to run. I say let them, or join them with others so the onus isn't solely on one entity's shoulders. But this is work we'll have to do ourselves. With a little luck thrown in we can get it done. We can't be looking to the politicians exclusively, however. Between this year's elections and next year's mayoral campaign, they will be of little help.

Anonymous said...

tionci "A developer won't give a fig about emergency care for the communities." Quite so. That is why, unlike most Plainfield developments, this one is not developer driven. A developer will be engaged after we have decided what we want on the site.

Bob said...

I still can't understand how anyone would believe that people will rent "luxury" apartments in Plainfield. Luxury didn't work for the disaster which is Monarch,so who is the idiot who thinks it will work at Muhlenberg? I also don't see 600 units to be viable number, unless the county is willing to make Park Ave. a four lane road. I don't think North Plainfield or South Plainfield would be willing to go there, and there is no space to make Park Ave. four lanes in Plainfield proper. This plan has not been well though out, but I'm sure JFK only sees dollar signs and not much else. Even 100 units would clog the area roads in a way that would cause pandmonium. Let's make sure this diaster doesn't happen. It won't help anyone in Plainfield, except those who bought properties because they had prior knowledge of this plan.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Alan. First, JFK is not even going to entertain the thought of putting a medical anything in Muhlenburg as it is direct competition.

It would be great for a developer to come in and promise a residential development and then convert it to a medical mall.

I often wonder that JFK closed Muhlenburg because of all the charity cases that came it. I guess they all went to Overlook.

I strongly suggest that people in the Plainfield area with health care plans make sure that their doctors have privileges in Overlook or some other hospital, and then make sure that they never darken JFKs doors. I do.

Anonymous said...

JFK is #22 of the 30 worst hospitals in NY city area