Zon­ing­hear­ingsched­uled­forde­mo­li­tion­fence

The Colonial - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Rotenberg

A Philadel­phia de­mo­li­tion com­pany has started the process to dis­man­tle the va­cant Mont­gomery Hos­pi­tal on Pow­ell Street by ask­ing the Nor­ris­town Zon­ing Hear­ing Board to al­low a 6-foot-high fence to se­cure the de­mo­li­tion site.

The board will hold a public hear­ing on the vari­ance re­quest from USA En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Inc. at 7 p.m., Aug. 26. The fence will be erected “on all street frontages” to al­low for a “se­cured de­mo­li­tion site in the OR -Of­fice Re­tail zon­ing district.”

The vari­ance re­quest was filed Aug. 13 af­ter Nor­ris­town Zon­ing Of­fi­cer Jayne Mu­sonye de­nied per­mis­sion to erect the de­mo­li­tion fence with­out a vari­ance.

“Your pro­posal to con­struct a fence around va­cant hos­pi­tal dur­ing de­mo­li­tion to pro­tect public (is) not per­mit­ted,” said the vari­ance ap­pli­ca­tion. “You may seek re­lief from th­ese re­quire­ments through the zon­ing hear­ing board.”

Al­bert Ein­stein Health­care Net­work (AEHN) and the Elon Group in Fort Wash­ing­ton are col­lab­o­rat­ing on the de­mo­li­tion of the hos­pi­tal, which closed in Septem­ber 2012 as Ein­stein Med­i­cal Cen­ter Mont­gomery (EMCM) opened in East Norriton.

AEHNand the Elon Group will share the $4 mil­lion to $5 mil­lion cost of re­mov­ing as­bestos from the sev­en­story, 365,000-square-foot build­ing and de­mol­ish­ing it. The de­mo­li­tion work is ex­pected to take eight months to com­plete and be­gin this sum­mer. When de­mo­li­tion is com­plete, AEHN will sell the build­ing and the 3.7-acre site to the Elon Group for $1.

The Elon Group has pro­posed build­ing a 100-unit se­nior apart­ment com­plex di­vided into two, 50-unit build­ings to bet­ter qual­ify for a par­tial, public fi­nanc­ing of the $45 to $50 mil­lion project.

It will be built in two phases over more than two years to qual­ify for Penn­syl­va­nia Hous­ing Fi­nance Agency (PHFA) fund­ing for both phases, said Fran­cis Var­gas, the vice pres­i­dent of the Elon Group.

Park­ing for 48 cars on site would be sup­ple­mented by 200 des­ig­nated park­ing spa­ces in the for­mer hos­pi­tal’s park­ing garage. The med­i­cal of­fice build­ing would re­main but an over­head, en­closed walk­way to the hos­pi­tal build­ing over Pow­ell Street would be de­mol­ished. A 15,000-square-foot health build­ing for se­niors would be built dur­ing the sec­ond phase of con­struc­tion.

The first Elon Group ap­pli­ca­tion to the PHFA for a low-in­come hous­ing tax credit of $1,031,535 was not ap­proved in June, said Scott El­liott, the PHFA direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, in an email. He said that about 25 per­cent of the grant re­quests statewide are granted each year.

The Elon Group is ex­pected to re­sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion for the 2015 fund­ing round. Those ap­pli­ca­tions are due by Jan. 31, 2015 and the award de­ci­sions are typ­i­cally made in June each year.

The $11,869,333 fi­nanc­ing plan for con­struc­tion of the first build­ing in­cluded a $10,367,958 Wells Fargo com­mer­cial loan, a $750,000 Pen­nHomes loan, $290,000 from the Fed­eral Home Loan Bank’s Af­ford­able Hous­ing Pro­gram, $226,800 as a rent sub­sidy from the rein­vested de­vel­oper fee, $30,000 as a rein­vested de­vel­oper fee and a $204,575 rein­vested de­vel­oper fee.

Var­gas did not re­spond to sev­eral re­quests for com­ment from The Colo­nial’s sis­ter pa­per.

Sub­mit­ted art

Two 50-unit se­nior hous­ing build­ings could re­place the for­mer Mont­gomery Hos­pi­tal in Nor­ris­town.

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