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Controversial UWS Nursing Home Development Gets $2.5 Million Grant

By Emily Frost | December 9, 2013 7:12pm
 The grant is in support of the nursing home's innovative living arrangement model. 
Jewish Home Lifecare Development Gets $2.5 Million Grant
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A controversial development serving the elderly that is planned for West 97th Street has received a $2.5 million grant, it was announced Monday.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, which supports services for older adults in the Jewish community and has a $2 billion endowment, announced it was giving the multimillion-dollar grant to Jewish Home Lifecare for the planned 20-story nursing home development. 

Local opposition to the project, including from a host of elected officials, as well as continued calls for more public review have stretched out the development's construction timetable.

JHL does not yet have the green light to begin construction, which is tentatively set for the fall of 2014, until the state Department of Health approves its environmental review — a document outlining the impact of development on its surroundings. 

The DOH did not return request for comment the timing of its decision.  

Among other concerns, locals have argued the $278 million development will negatively impact the neighborhood's quality of life during construction and create dangerous congestion in the area. 

But supporters have argued that JHL's proposed use of the "Green House" model in the new building deserves support. Under the model, a large facility housing people is broken into small clusters of individuals, who each have their own bedroom but share a den and kitchen, as a way of promoting closer-knit communities. 

“Jewish Home’s Living Center of Manhattan will be the first Green House model to be built as a high-rise in a major metropolitan setting," said Ellen M. Heller, chairwoman of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. 

The building would serve 264 residents and have living groups set aside for those who keep kosher, as well as the first household for LGBT elders, a spokeswoman said.

While there was a public hearing before the state in mid-September, Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell has asked for another public hearing so that more community members can testify. 

"There is incredible distress in my community about this project and I believe not everyone has been given the chance to share their concerns," he wrote in a letter to Charles Abel, the state's acting director of the Division of Health Facility Planning, on Nov. 15.

O'Donnell's staff said Monday he had not yet heard back from Abel.