BCH recently decided to put all their eggs in one basket out east, closer to the center of where their customer base now lives. Retrofitting the Broadway structures again – in the wrong place – didn’t make economic or geographic sense. Smart move.
Can the City and County move quickly enough to acquire the 8-acre downtown campus to meet other community needs as well? The obvious use for many of the hospital’s existing well-wired and oxygenated rooms is senior housing, both long term care and assisted living. However, the large site a mere six blocks from Pearl Street can do much more, and it should. From customer service, overlapping areas of expertise and economies of scale perspectives, social and mental health services of many kinds might work well together here.
BCH should be paid fair market value for the site. A quick close is more valuable than any premium or discount that might be negotiated, and the money paid will be used to underwrite the nonprofit services BCH continues to provide to our community elsewhere. Don’t haggle. We all win.
Then, meet with the neighbors and envision a mix of compatible uses that meet some of their needs, while delivering optimal value to the community as a whole. City and County employees with similar responsibilities may also be able to co-habit here, while the County Courthouse and Municipal Building continue to house executive personnel and public hearings. Git ‘er done – times a-wasting!