Bayonne could see the construction of its first nursing home facility in May if the Zoning Board of Adjustment approves an application for a 120-bed facility on Broadway at a special meeting slated for Jan. 22.
The $25 million project, located on Broadway near 29th Street, is being proposed by Omni Healthcare of New Jersey, which owns and operates similar facilities in Union City, West New York, Jersey City, and Secaucus.
The 10-story building, which includes internal parking as well as ground floor retail, is expected to generate almost $500,000 in additional property taxes as well as more than 200 jobs, not including construction jobs.
Michael O’Connor, executive director of the Bayonne Economic Development Office, said Omni has worked closely with various city agencies, the planning department, and the technical review committee over the last18 months.
“Omni has also worked closely with Bayonne Town Center architect, Walter Chatham, on enhancing the appearance of the building, which will be proven in the proposal that’s before the zoning board for appropriate street frontage and appropriate retail below,” he said.
While Chatham is not the architect for the building, he is a nationally recognized architect and one of the leading architects of the new urbanism movement.
O’Connor said, “He has been responsible for projects all over the county and around the world, and worked with the town center for over a decade. Omni did a good job working with him to create a very attractive project for the city.”
The project is being proposed for the former Verizon building – a two-story structure directly across the street from the Bayonne Medical Center.
Proposed plans call for ground floor retail shops, a lobby, five floors dedicated to a nursing home, and a rooftop sundeck. Four additional floors would provide parking.
Omni purchased the property from Bayonne Medical Center in December 2006 under the hospital’s old ownership.
Tom O’Connor (no relation to Michael), who represents Omni and will present the application before the Zoning Board, said this project was the original intention when the property was purchased.
“There is a significant need for this type of facility in our community.” – Mayor Mark Smith
Omni is asking the Zoning Board to allow construction despite the fact that the project proposed 103 parking spaces instead of the 145.
“There is a significant need for this type of facility in our community that provides the opportunity for increased tax ratables as well as good paying, permanent jobs that are sorely needed,” said Mayor Mark Smith when contacted for comment.
Avery Eisenreich, chief executive officer of Bayonne/Omni, said the project will cost between $20 million to $25 million.
Omni operates similar facilities throughout Hudson County, including Harborview Healthcare Center and the Old Jewish Center (Newport) in Jersey City, Castle Hill Health Center in Union City, Fountain at the Manor in Secaucus, and Palisades Health Center in West New York.
If approved, construction would begin in May and would take 18 to 20 months to complete.
Elderly want to stay in Bayonne
But Eisenreich said Bayonne differs in many ways from other communities.
“We’ve been listening to people and most of those who live in Bayonne want to stay in Bayonne,” he said.
He described the location near Bayonne Medical Center and Broadway as ideally located since many people may come to the facility from the hospital, and many who will reside in the facility will take comfort in the closeness of the hospital.
The center will provide physical, occupational and aquatic therapy and will include a pool.
“There is a crying need for this facility,” he said.
Although the facility will provide a number of accommodations not featured in total in its other facilities, the cost will be borne through Medicare, Medicaid or other insurance.
The facility will have a common hall and dining room on each floor. There will also be a small theater for movies, and a themed décor that will feature a replica of Bayonne’s “Old Broadway,” including historic light poles.
“It will feel more like an assisted living facility,” he said. “We’re 75 percent Medicaid
Tom O’Connor said the facility will generate about $464,000 in property taxes and about $40,000 in special improvement district fees.
The facility will also generate several hundred jobs when completed.