Last week, a New York state appeals court affirmed the state Health Department’s decision to let Jewish Home Lifecare build a new 20-story nursing home on 97th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. It was a major roadblock, though it may not be the last one for the long-delayed project.
The ruling overturns a judge’s decision to stop the project because she thought the Health Department hadn’t done a proper review of issues like the lead contamination in the soil and construction noise impacts.
Jewish Home Lifecare, now on 106th Street, has been trying for years to build a new modern nursing home, but was stymied first by the real estate market and then by neighbors upset about the construction plans. Parents at adjacent PS 163 and neighbors in nearby buildings said the project will cause too much environmental harm, release toxic materials into the air, and disrupt learning. They sued the Health Department after its analysis gave Jewish Home the green light to start building.
Martin Rosenblatt, one of the opponents, said they plan to appeal last week’s ruling. “It’s a momentary loss but it doesn’t settle the game.”
Opponents have also fought the project on other grounds, including a zoning issue. They have succeeded in delaying the project, which had been expected to break ground in 2014.
Jewish Home has countered that they’ve been diligent about addressing the safety and health concerns, adopting standards that “go well beyond standard industry construction mitigations.”
“As a mission-driven nonprofit healthcare organization, Jewish Home is committed to building in the safest and most responsible manner,” said JHL Senior VP Bruce Nathanson in a statement.
Asked for a new timeline for the project, a Jewish Home rep said they’ll have to wait until the end of legal proceedings.
“JHL is poised to jump-start construction as soon as the litigation process concludes. We estimate that it will take approximately 30 months from the start of construction until occupancy of the new skilled nursing facility.”