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Mount Sinai South Nassau says three firms are ‘qualified’ to build pavilion

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Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital said for the first time Tuesday that it had named three firms that are qualified to compete to build a $40 million medical outpatient center near the former property of the Long Beach Medical Center, shuttered since Hurricane Sandy.

The firms must submit proposals to build the medical arts pavilion by April 3. One of the three will be chosen for the project by May 20, Mount Sinai spokesman Joe Calderone said.

Mount Sinai had not previously announced any potential builders of the outpatient center or a schedule for their proposals.

The three are Axis Construction Corp. of Hauppauge, EW Howell Construction Co. of Plainview and Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of Baltimore.

Calderone said that after a contractor is selected, construction is expected to begin in late August or early September and last about 18 months.

Scott Kemins, Long Beach’s building commissioner, said on Tuesday that his department issued one permit for site modification, for groundwork, on Jan. 7. Other permits would be needed for construction.

There is currently a freestanding emergency department on the grounds that sees about 12,000 patients a year, Calderone said.

Ultimately, he said, the hospital hopes to interest private entities into making use of what is known as the Main Building and the West Building for senior living.

Residents in the area have complained that the buildings are an eyesore and reduce property values. Last week they complained that water was being pumped out of one of the buildings, and that they feared it contained toxins. But Town of Hempstead and state Department of Environmental Conservation officials determined that it was rainwater that had to be removed from the building.

Kevin Reilly, vice president of the North East Bay and Canal Civic Association, said the group wants Mount Sinai South Nassau to refurbish the Main and West buildings and build the medical arts pavilion at its Oceanside hospital.

“The concern is that the medical arts pavilion is an inappropriate structure in a residential neighborhood,” Reilly said. “They refer to it as a medical arts building. It’s an office building.” He said the civic group would continue to fight the hospital’s plans.

The issue of the pumped-out water arose at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. Several angry residents spoke out, saying they were skeptical of DEC reports that the water had no contaminants, and called for another study. Kemins emphasized that “DEC felt there was no hazard” in the water. One Hempstead town inspector even tasted the water, Kemins said, adding, half-jokingly, “He’s still here.”

“I don’t think that was good science,” resident June Schecter said. “In one cursory look, they can’t tell if the water is contaminated.”

Kemins said he had a meeting next week with Hempstead and DEC officials to discuss the water pumping.

Some $38 million in federal and state funds have been spent on the acquisition of the old site, opening and upgrading an emergency department, site preparation, and demolition and acquisition of some surrounding property.

“We are moving ahead with the plans for the medical arts pavilion in Long Beach,” Calderone said, “which will bring a host of medical specialists back to the barrier island to better serve residents.”

In January, a State Supreme Court judge in Mineola approved the hospital’s plans to build the medical outpatient center, but an appeal is planned. The property is at 440 E. Bay Drive. That is property acquired by the former South Nassau in 2014, adjacent to the former Long Beach Hospital. The freestanding emergency center opened in August 2015.

The medical arts pavilion is to be a 15,000-square-feet office building with 18 exam rooms and two procedure rooms. It will offer primary care and internal medicine, geriatrics, cardiology, pediatrics, radiology and “an array of physician specialty services,” according to the hospital.