MVHS Provides Property Acquisition Update; COO Says Trump Tweet Altered New Hospital’s Costs Estimates
A tweet from President Donald Trump prompted MVHS officials to recalculate some of their cost estimates for the new downtown hospital.
That's according to MVHS Chief Operating Officer Robert Scholefield, who met with local media Thursday to provide an update on several aspects of the overall $480 project.
Some aspects of the project are over budget, others are under
Scholefield said a late night tweet by President Trump about tariffs on Chinese goods changed one particular cost estimate for the project.
''The cost of steel futures, in other words how much it's going to cost to purchase steel a year from now and two years from now - that's the timeline for this project, increased to the extent that we've estimated it's a $1.5 million add-on to this project for [steel],'' Scholefield said.
Additionally, MVHS is over budget on the amount it had planned to spend for acquiring properties in the downtown hospital's footprint. When asked how far over budget they were, specifically on what they planned to spend on acquiring properties, Scholefield would only say ''a lot.''
However, he said the budget for various other parts of the multi-pronged project were under budget, too, saying he believed the cost variations would balance out in the end.
The budgeted overall cost of the project, however, has been and remains at $480 million, he said.
The hospital and its attorneys continue to reach agreements with affected property owners in the downtown hospital's footprint.
Scholefield said MVHS now has agreements in place with 19 of the 35 affected properties, while 'active negotiations' are continuing with ten others. Two property owners have told the hospital outright that they will not be accepting any offers, while the remaining four have not responded to any communication from MVHS, Scholefield said.
Of the project's $480-million price tag, $300-million is coming from a state grant. The remaining $180 million in financing is the responsibility of MVHS. The hospital has reached an agreement with a financial institution for the $180-million loan, and Scholefield said a formal announcement is expected in the next couple of weeks.
What happens to the building's MVHS is leaving behind?
What will become of what is currently St. Elizabeth Medical Center, St Luke's and Faxton?
It remains to be determined.
MVHS hospital is in the process of working with third parties companies to determine which building should be kept, and which two should be sold, he said.
''We only want to retain one. At this point, as you know, we have a lot of outpatient services at Faxton, so in our mind it makes sense to stay there.''
But, he said the hospital was willing to look at all options on which facility makes the most sense to keep - and which two should be sold. He said this process would also help determine the best possible re-uses for such buildings, in turn helping shed light on which businesses or industries they would to market those buildings to.