The former William B. Kessler Memorial Hospital, in Hammonton, has been acquired by Community Healthcare Associates, which redeveloped the former Barnert Hospital, in Paterson, into a medical mall, and now has similar plans for Kessler.
E. Stephen Kirby, managing partner of CHA and former CEO of LibertyHealth, parent of Jersey City Medical Center, said the 95,000-square-foot Kessler Medical Arts Complex will undergo a renovation, then be leased to doctors and other health care providers. A portion of the former 120-bed hospital could house subacute or rehabilitation beds for patients who need nursing care for several days or weeks, but don’t need an acute-care hospital, he said.
Kirby said CHA purchased Kessler, which sits on 8.75 acres with a lake, for several million dollars and will invest $3 million to $5 million in the renovations. Although Kessler closed in 2009, “there is still a population there” that needs medical services. “When you turn it into a medical mall, it becomes an office complex” designed around the needs of health care providers, he said.
CHA has received several inquiries, and the first tenants could arrive in about three months, Kirby said. He estimated there eventually will be about 150 people working there.
The much-larger Barnert Medical Arts Complex today provides more than 450 jobs, and is about 90 percent occupied, Kirby said. CHA acquired the former Paterson hospital in 2008 and oversaw its $22 million redevelopment, the financing provided by CHA and several of the building’s tenants.
“After our successful transformation of the Barnert facility in Paterson, we are prepared to revitalize Kessler and bring it back into the fold as a taxpayer for Hammonton and Atlantic County, creating jobs, and providing high-quality health care-related services,” said Bill Colgan, CHA managing partner.
CHA, in partnership with Jersey City Medical Center, was among the unsuccessful bidders to acquire Hoboken University Medical Center from the city, which decided to transfer the hospital to the owners of Bayonne Medical Center. Kirby said the CHA/Jersey City Medical Center plan was to regionalize services between the two hospitals while maintaining both as acute-care hospitals.
Doug Petkus, spokesman for the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority, confirmed that the city decided against the CHA/Jersey City Medical Center plan, in part because since not all services currently offered at the hospital would have been maintained.