Ground breaks on Fort Greene healthcare facility
by Patrick Kearns
Mar 25, 2015 | 3439 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at the building’s groundbreaking.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at the building’s groundbreaking.
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An artist's rendering of the new 12-story facility that will house the Hotel Trades Council’s innovative healthcare facility in Fort Greene.
An artist's rendering of the new 12-story facility that will house the Hotel Trades Council’s innovative healthcare facility in Fort Greene.
slideshow
City elected officials and representatives of the Hotel Trades Council and Hotel Association joined together to break ground on a 12-story building, the first major commercial development to join the Brooklyn Cultural District.

Located at 620 Fulton Street, the 180,000-square-foot edifice, which is expected to be complete in late 2016, will feature office, medical and retail space and will be occupied by, primarily, a healthcare facility for the city hotel workers union.

It was the unique approach to healthcare that really had officials talking.

The facility will have no waiting rooms, with patients instead checking in at kiosks or with smartphones. They will subsequently be assigned examination rooms where they will see all doctors, nurses or staff needed for their care. All of that will take place in the same room. Medical teams will share a central workspace.

“This health center is going to be an idea that spreads,” Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted.

Inside the building, union members will receive full services. They can see their doctor on one floor, then fill the prescription at the pharmacy on another floor. There will even be dental services available in the building.

“Our mission is to be the foremost provider of high-quality healthcare in an environment distinguished by exceptional service,” said Dr. Robert Greenspan, chief executive officer of the council's Employee Benefit Funds. “I believe the design of this facility will further our mission by providing a collaborative, patient-centric environment.”

De Blasio noted there’s actually substantial savings associated with a project like this, and the workers get healthcare at a more affordable rate than what’s available on the open marketplace.

“We have to help everyday people afford the cost of living,” DeBlasio said.

This model of condensing everything into one facility – there’s a similar facility in Harlem that de Blasio had the chance to tour – is something that the city could look at exploring for all city employees, de Blasio said in a June interview with WYNC.

At the facility, 85 percent of patients walk in, get their full range of services and be out within an hour. No more visiting one side of town to see one doctor, traveling across the city to see a dentist, then filling a prescription at a pharmacy several subway stops away.

“This is the model we have to run with,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said.

The site is currently home to a parking lot, but soon the 12-story glass building, designed by architecture firm Francis Cauffman, will become an architectural mainstay in the area’s aesthetic.

“The new building is part of the transformation of the Brooklyn Cultural District into a 24/7 community,” said James Crispino, president and principal designer at Francis Cauffman. “It complements residential development in the district by adding a place where people can work, eat and shop.

“As designers, we are proud to help create an environment for multiple activities, anchored by a medical facility built to better serve patients,” he added.

The building is designed to give passersby changing impressions from different vantage points. A 12-story mural will cover the south-facing wall. Skanska USA will serve as the site’s construction manager.

“The new Brooklyn Health Center is yet another great opportunity for our company to build what really matters to people in their communities,” said Tom Webb, executive vice president and general manager of Skanska USA's New York office. “We are proud to be a part of lasting, sustainable growth solutions in the Fort Greene neighborhood and look forward to delivering a state-of-the art healthcare facility for the hotel union workers across the city.”

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