In a long-awaited piece of news for New Jersey Transit riders, Gov. Phil Murphy and NJ Transit announced the issuance of a “Notice to Proceed” on the $1.5 billion Portal North Bridge project.
The current bridge is an aging, but vital stretch of rail for commuters into and out of New York City, which adds to the urgency of construction. The Portal North Bridge project spans 2.44 miles of the Northeast Corridor line. The Notice to Proceed signifies the start of the construction contract.
The project, part of the larger Gateway Program, is expected to improve capacity and reliability for rail travel between New Jersey and New York City.
Funding is being provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, NJ Transit, and Amtrak. Murphy announced the securing of $766.5 million in Federal Transit Administration funding during the signing of a Full Funding Grant Agreement.
Deborah Heart and Lung Center kicked off the first major capital expansion at the Browns Mills campus since the ’90s, DEBORAH100: The Project — a $108 million capital expansion and renovation project at the hospital — launched on Feb. 21 with a groundbreaking.
The work is being financed by an $88 million U.S. Department of Agriculture low-interest loan for rural development; with $10 million from Greater Commercial Lending; and through Deborah‘s own Capital Fundraising Campaign, which the provider said has raised the necessary balance of funds.
“Our Facilities Team created a simulated patient room to the exact drawing specifications where staff was able to provide their suggestions for how the space should be de-signed,” the center’s president and CEO, Joseph Chirichella, said in a statement. “When completed, all patient rooms will be private, all new rooms will be critical care and isolation capable, and there will be a floor of dedicated respite space for staff with indoor and outdoor covered lounges as well as quiet rooms.”
In the mid-1990s, Deborah said it added and revamped 120,000 square feet of space in Browns Mills. Then, in 2018, a freestanding 60,000-square-foot Medical Office Building was dedicated at the campus.
Deborah enlisted Ewing Cole, Architects and Engineers to plan the latest work, and Torcon Inc. is the general contractor.
DEBORAH100: The Project will add a three-story vertical addition to the existing hospital, bringing with it 36 private patient rooms. Meanwhile, three existing patient care units will also be renovated, increasing the hospital’s total licensed bed count to 95.
Its cardiac catheterization labs will be upgraded, a new pharmacy clean-room will be added, and robotic technology will be brought into Deborah’s electrophysiology labs.
“This project, which began prior to COVID, was aimed at increasing our total number of critical care beds, enhancing patient privacy and well-being, along with the well-being of our Clinical and Support Team. The pandemic has served to reinforce our vision of these needs, and fortify our resolve to continue providing the highest quality cardiac, pulmonary, and vascular care in the region,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Joseph Manni.
Creating a “gateway” to University Hospital, construction is set to begin in the coming weeks on an affordable housing development in Newark’s Fairmount neighborhood with an eye toward improving resident health outcomes.
On March 4, L+M Development Partners, Type A Projects and MSquared said they closed on $42 million in financing for the project, which will bring 78 affordable rental units serving low- and moderate-income households to the neighborhood, in partnership with University Hospital. The project was announced in May of 2021.
“This financing is a tremendous step forward for a project that will have a lasting impact on area residents in finding and keeping affordable, supportive housing in the proximity of University Hospital,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and NJHMFA board chair. “Governor Murphy and I are thrilled to see progress on this innovative hospital and housing partnership project that will help strengthen the Fairmount community.”
The project is being developed under the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s Hospital Partnership Subsidy Program.
Designed by Inglese Architecture and Engineering, the development is located on a portion of the property at 250 Georgia King Village on West Market Street.
University Hospital will operate a ground-floor clinic and hospital space at the building, according to an announcement, with those wellness features serving to enhance social services across the surrounding neighborhood.