MetroHealth holds open houses to share plan for campus transformation



Thursday, August 15, 2019; Open House, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Drive: View of the construction site for MetroHealth’s new hospital from the 7thfloor of the View Road Parking Garage.

MetroHealth holds open houses to share plan for campus transformation

 by Chuck Hoven

(Plain Press, September 2019)       MetroHealth Medical Center invited the community to a series of open houses in August to learn more about its one-billion-dollar Campus Transformation plan.

Those visiting one of the open houses experienced a virtual reality tour of the future main hospital building; learned about community programs that MetroHealth offers; saw plans for construction and design of the future campus; heard more about proposed neighborhood enhancements; learned of MetroHealth’s EcoDistrict plans as well as its sustainability efforts; viewed an augmented reality model of the proposed campus; and obtained a bird’s eye view of the construction site for the new hospital building from the 7thfloor of the new View Road Parking Garage.

The virtual reality tour offered guests at the open house a view of what the inside and grounds of the new hospital building will look like when completed. Guests put on virtual reality goggles and traversed the lobby, lounge areas, patient rooms, a three seasons room, and even the rest rooms of the future hospital building. The virtual reality tour showed a pediatric unit with an outdoor area for children to play and rehab from injuries. The view that a guest experienced with the goggles was projected on a screen, so that others not wearing goggles could share in the experience.

Neighborhood Enhancements

Greg Zucca, Director of Economic Development and Community Transformation for MetroHealth Medical Center, was on hand to offer additional information about proposed neighborhood enhancements that will be part of the MetroHealth Campus Transformation. Zucca said the 72 units of affordable housing and the 5,000 square foot multipurpose space, planned as part of the transformation plan, will be built on what is now a MetroHealth owned parking lot bounded by Sackett Avenue on the North, MetroHealth Drive on the south, W. 25thStreet on the west and Scranton Road on the east.

Zucca said the affordable housing units must meet federal guidelines for what is affordable. He said the federal definition of affordability is affordable to families having income between 30% and 80% of the area median income. The area is defined as the Greater Cleveland area, so the median family income for the entire area is higher than that of Cleveland alone, said Zucca. He said the Greater Cleveland area’s median income is about $70,000 per year. So, the affordable housing is targeted to families making roughly between $23,000 and $55,000 per year, said Zucca.

The new affordable housing would include one, two, and three-bedroom units, said Zucca. He said rents would range from $350 a month for a single bedroom unit to $750 per month for a three-bedroom unit. The new apartment building is projected to open sometime in 2021, said Zucca.

The first floor of the apartment building will have a 5,000 square foot multipurpose space, said Zucca. The space will house a workforce development and economic opportunity center. MetroHealth plans to partner with Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) to offer job training on the site for potential hospital employees, said Zucca. Having the Tri-C program in the new building will allow State Trained Nursing Assistants to do their training right next to the hospital, he noted. MetroHealth already has high school students from Lincoln West attending classes in the Rammelkamp building on its campus, says Zucca. He said 25 students just graduated from the program and 100% of the graduates have moved on to post-secondary education programs.

In addition to the affordable units, MetroHealth, CCH Development and the NRP Group plan to build 100 units of market rate housing for medical students working at MetroHealth and 80 units of market rate housing available to the general public. Zucca anticipates the 100 units of housing for medical students will be filled by some of the 400 medical students working at the hospital on an annual basis. Zucca says sites for the market rate units have not yet been finalized.

Zucca says that MetroHealth transferred the ownership of the development site for the affordable apartments (its parking lot) to CCH Development Corporation. Zucca says he is on loan from MetroHealth to CCH Development Corporation where he is serving as project coordinator. CCH Development Corporation is a new development corporation (see accompanying article for more information about CCH Development and the NRP Group) which Zucca described as more of a holding company rather than a fully functioning neighborhood development corporation. Zucca says CCH has a board of trustees that meets regularly.

As part of the funding for the affordable and market rate housing planned for the Campus Transformation, Zucca says CCH Development Corporation has submitted an FHAct50 target-area application to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency for use of $1 million in Internal Revenue Service federal tax credits. Zucca says $1 million was the maximum amount an organization could apply for in 2019 tax credits in the target area. He says the FHAct50 program allocates $3 million dollars in federal tax credits to the target area over a three-year period.

An article in the June 2019 issue of the Plain Presstitled “Pilot program calls for investments to establish Clark Fulton as a mixed income neighborhood”  describes the FHAct50 program as a pilot program that will use federal tax credits to create affordable housing units that will be matched one for one by market rate housing units built at the same time in the same neighborhood. The article describes the target area for the FHAct50 tax credit funding as the “Clark Fulton neighborhood from W. 25thto W. 44thwith most of the neighborhood lying South of I-90 except for the Queen, Barber, Vega area just north of I-90 along W. 25thStreet.”

Zucca says he heard that the CCH Development Corporation application for FHAct50 tax credits had been selected to move forward in an early stage of the selection process. It has not received final approval, he said. An article in the August 2019 issue of the Plain Pressby Bruce Checefsky titled “MetroHealth holds Campus Transformation Plan community meetings” indicates that the total cost of the neighborhood development projects will be $60 million.

In addition to the housing and the multipurpose space, Zucca noted some other amenities that MetroHealth plans for the neighborhood including wifi service for the neighborhood surrounding the hospital and parks planned for the MetroHealth campus. Long term planning, he said, envisions a 12-acre park just south of the new affordable apartments on the site of the current outpatient clinics. The site lies between MetroHealth Drive and Southpoint Drive between W. 25thand Scranton. The plan calls for the outpatient clinics to move to the current site of the Elisabeth Prentiss Center for Skilled Nursing Care further south on Scranton on the east side of the street.

Zucca says MetroHealth is working closely with CCH Development Corporation, MetroWest Development Corporation, and Councilwoman Jasmin Santana to develop a master plan for the neighborhood. He says requests for proposals to help develop the master plan have gone out. The area for the master plan he described as the entire Clark Fulton statistical planning area, plus part of the Brooklyn Centre statistical planning area north of I-71 and part of the Tremont statistical planning area west of I-71. He says one goal of the master plan is to create a mix of commercial enterprises to provide service to the community.

Bird’s Eye View

Guests at the Open House were offered visual tour of the construction site of the new hospital building led by Turner Construction Company Senior Project Manager Jeffery V. Abke. Viewing the construction site from the seventh floor of the new View Road Parking Garage, Abke pointed out the site below where construction is underway for the new eleven floor hospital building which he said should be ready to serve its first patient in the fall of 2022. The site for the new hospital building will front on Scranton Road with Southpoint Drive to the north and Eglindale Avenue and the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Center for Skilled Nursing Care to the South. Next to the hospital building on the east, Abke said there will be a central utility plant which will have emergency generators, boilers for steam and hot water and cooling towers. The plant contains wells to store diesel fuel. He said if the power goes out automatic feeder switches will kick in the backup system.

Abke pointed out the new View Road east of the central utility building site. The private hospital road was built by Turner Construction and allows delivery vehicles, ambulances and employees to enter the hospital from the rear on View Road while the public will use the front door on Scranton. View Road stretches from Valentine Avenue to the south, goes behind the hospital and winds around the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Center for Skilled Nursing Care to Scranton Road. Ambulances coming from I-71 will be able to go directly to the south end of View Road and follow that to Southpoint Drive where they can access the Critical Care Pavilion. Ambulances can also enter and exit View Road via Valentine Avenue.

A drawing of the future hospital mounted on the window of the parking garage shows the new hospital building connecting with the existing Critical Care Pavilion. Once the new building is up and running plans call for the current Metro twin towers to be demolished to make way for green space. Abke says Turner Construction Company’s part of the new hospital construction is budgeted at $430 million. He said this does not include equipment and furniture that will be placed inside the hospital after construction is complete. Abke noted Turner’s experience in building hospital buildings which includes several buildings for Cleveland Clinic. He talked about the importance of incorporating backup utility capability into the construction plan so that it will kick in automatically if power from the grid goes down.



Thursday, August 15, 2019; Open House, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Drive: Greg Zucca, Director of Economic Development and Community Transformation for MetroHealth Medical Center, stands at his station ready to explain to open house guests what neighborhood enhancements are in the works as part of the transformation plan.


Thursday, August 15, 2019; Open House, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Drive: Jonny Fine, Director of the City Life Center, takes a virtual reality tour of the new hospital building.


Thursday, August 15, 2019; Open House, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Drive: A group of high school students and City Life Staff members involved in planning for future youth programs in the neighborhood, visited the MetroHealth Open House. The group especially enjoyed putting on goggles to participate in a virtual reality tour of the future hospital building. (L-R) Felix Latimer, Javon Wellson, J-Sun Martinez, Jamie Kinnett (City Life Center staff member), Joana Mendez, and Jonny Fine (City Life Center Director).


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