Community Healthcare Network, a nonprofit provider based in Midtown, signed a 35-year lease to establish an expanded federally qualified health center in the South Bronx, the organization announced last week.
The lease, which was secured by advising company Denham Wolf Real Estate Services, will allow the Community Healthcare Network to build an expanded health facility at the 8,000-square-foot location at 1000 Westchester Ave. The FQHC will be about 50% larger than the existing location, said Robert Hayes, president and CEO of the nonprofit.
The building was leased to the Community Healthcare Network for approximately $45 per square foot, totaling $363,000 for the first year of occupancy, Hayes said. Rent costs will increase by 2% annually, he added.
The South Bronx FQHC will be able to accommodate an estimated 4,000 additional medical visits, totaling 16,000 visits a year, Hayes said. The facility will have the capacity for 2,600 annual dental visits. The opening of the new FQHC will mark the first time dental care is offered at the South Bronx location, Hayes added.
The additional space at the new facility will not add medical exam rooms and dental offices and include space for care navigators to support the social and economic needs of patients. Residents of the South Bronx have higher rates of chronic illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease—all of which should be addressed through direct medical care and by directing resources for housing and economic support, Hayes said.
“Health care in a bubble is not very effective,” Hayes said. “You really need to connect the dots.”
The new building will be across the street from its existing location. Hayes said the new location would not change travel times for patients in the South Bronx, preserving continuity of care for its patients.
Christopher Turner, managing director of transaction services and principal with Denham Wolf, said it’s typically a challenge to find the right piece of real estate for FQHCs because they don’t want to disrupt patient care. The new facility’s location across the street eliminates any chances of disruption, he said.
The company configured the terms of the lease over 35 years so that Community Healthcare Network could apply for a tax waiver from the city through the 420C process. Typically, taxes would cost up to 25% of base rent, but this expense has been taken out of the deal and will help CHN save money, Turner said.
The new building will be delivered to Denham Wolf in September, Turner said. The Community Healthcare Network expects to occupy the building by early 2024, Hayes said.
Community Healthcare Network provides healthcare, dental, nutrition, wellness and other services to New Yorkers. The network consists of 14 federally qualified health centers across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan, as well as mobile vans that bring care to under-resourced communities.—A.D.