POLL: What Should Be Done With The Former United Hospital?

It's been seven years since the hospital went under.

News that thieves the former United Hospital site for scrap metal has prompted another round of speculation in Port Chester.

What's going on with the property, people wonder, and why has nothing been done in the seven years since the hospital closed?

A year after doctors and patients vacated United Hospital, big-time investors Starwood Capital purchased the site for $28 million in 2006.

Representatives from Starwood were all smiles and enthusiasm in summer 2010, when they presented grand plans for a project they called "The Gateway." So-named because it would be the first thing visitors saw when coming in via Route One, I-95 and I-287, The Gateway was a glitzy mix of tree-lined walkways, high-end shops, and high-rise apartments with views of the Sound.

But Port Chester's trustees, newly-elected and vowing not to the school district, weren't as impressed as Starwood's investors had hoped. Despite , elected leaders are reluctant to support any large-scale residential development in Port Chester.

Almost two years later, Starwood has scaled back its plans and is looking to recover on six years of owning a vacant building with nothing to show for it. The company has sued the school district for $750,000, arguing that it's been paying taxes based on an outdated property assessment.

In the meantime, more broken windows have been boarded up, the previously manicured lawn is overgrown, and the dilapidated building has become an eyesore -- and a sore point -- during the village's revitalization push.

Aidan February 24, 2012 at 10:47 AM
No more housing that'll crimp the schools even more. That's basically a commercial area ... just across from the major shopping center ... and very convenient to the county arteries for shoppers. Why not something to attract commerce? Shops, theatres, restaurants, and boutiques of all sort? If housing is include in any form, it should not be larger than one bedroom units ... or with guidelines like Heritage Village that exclude children. That might be a big draw in this area where many older folks want to to down-size, but stay in the area where their families have become rooted. It's an ideal location with easy access to transportation by car or rail ... and convenient for shopping of all sorts. I don't see how this wouldn't be a winner if done properly. This is a region that orbits NYC ... and it's very valuable real estate. And there's little more of it in this area. It's a shame NOT to exploit all of this for the village's benefit.
Bob February 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM
I would like to see upscale shopping and nice restaurants booth casual and nicer. With our border from Rye and Greenwich it could be supported.
George Datino February 24, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I guess the biggest question is what happens with the building? Is it going to be demolished and you start over or do you have to come up with something that fits with the layout of a hospital? If the building stays the same, I would think one of the easiest conversions and with the population getting older, a very large assisted living, rehabilitation center, nursing care facilitiy. Maybe being a little more creative, use the ground level for some sort of public promenade with shops and restaurants and use the upper floors for office space. I would imagine you could convert the patient rooms into one of those shared office areas. Use the old nurses stations as central reception and individual rooms for small offices. Honestly, I get worried when you mention any sort of housing. Even if rules would exist, the area doesn't have the best track record in following housing rules. On a more wilder idea, how about a casino? Bring in some nice tax money. LOL! If you are going to knock down the building and I don't know if there is enough room, but I would love to see a Lowes there. I find it a much nicer place to shop than Home Depot and the closest one is across the bridge.
Theresa Amuso February 24, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Expand on the medical service's. Thing's are only getting worse out there and we'll need them. T. Amuso
PC Proud February 24, 2012 at 01:36 PM
First off, at this point these buildings have been open so long that even the newer portions are probably beyond being salvaged. Secondly, we need to put in commercial/ Industrial enterprises with NO residential component and NO tax breaks. We cannot afford to place anymore residential burden on our school system or village services. We cannot afford to allow this to become housing or to revert back to exempt property, our tax base is debased enough by all the exempt and undertaxed property in the village.
Anne Latella February 24, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Find some multi million dollar donors and rebuild the best hospital the entire Westchester area ever had. The need is great. This was once the most beautiful & well run hospital. It should never have been closed after having served the community for over 100 years. Memories of many lives began their and many lives saved. I pray it can be restored once again. Nothing is impossible. It is the best Gateway Port Chester had and ever will have.
PC Expat February 24, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Minor League ballpark supported by year-round retail tenants. Whole Fields Field, perhaps?
Racman63 February 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Condemn it. Raze it. Turn in to a lovely park with community gardens.
Paula February 24, 2012 at 02:38 PM
J. M. Nelson February 24, 2012 at 02:47 PM
THEY NEED TO REOPEN UNITED HOSPITAL !! - If someone gets sick in the middle of the night (or the day), you have to go to Greenwhich or White Plains Hospital. Everybody doesn't have transportation or the finaces to get back home. That posses a huge problem for a lot of People in the Port Chester Community. If United is returned that would give this community back a lot of jobs that shouldn't have never been taken in the first place. Loosing United is a very big problem for the Community of Port Chester. Jobs are gone and the younger generations doesn't have that drive they need to futher their lives. It left them being hopeless. when the younger generation got to be 16 years old they had something to look forward to employment wise and they were most likely to embark on a lifetime career path -- Now there is nothing here for the young to strive for with a solid and upcoming career path for them. That's A Very Big Problem for This Community. The younger generation has nothing here to really stive for anymore. Being at United gave them HOPE for achieving a successful Career Path in their life -- Now There Is Nothing For These Young Children To Strive For. Everybody in Port Chester couldn't wait until they turned 16 years old - They Knew where they were going to apply for employment at and possible make a career for themselves -- Now it's pretty much ALL GONE -- NO HOPES / NO DREAMS - Just A Bunch of The Younger Generation Left Out In The Cold !!
melda bell February 24, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Open the hospital back if you get sick your chances of getting to the hospital are slim to none it also served other cities that have no hospitals
melda bell February 24, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Rebuild the hospital not only would it create jobs it also gives hope babies are being born everyday and greenwich hospital won't even deliver the baby my daughter had to go all the way to sleepy hollow or another school will do the town is over populated and kids are so crowded in class the teachers can't even concentrate
KS February 24, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I think an outdoor outlet mall would have great success in Port Chester. The three closest by are an hour away. It would create jobs and offer high end goods, at lets be honest, a price Port Chester residents can afford.
MMunnick February 24, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Gosh, housing shouldn't even be on the table. The infrastructure cannot handle it. The schools are over crowded and the town is suffering as a result - quality of life, etc., The garbage and filth around town saddens me. We need tax revenue and employment.
Frankie Val February 24, 2012 at 06:22 PM
How about we turn it into a Hospital?
Frankie Val February 24, 2012 at 06:38 PM
You know...a place where people's lives can be saved? - instead of another place to spend money that we don't have?
Rick February 24, 2012 at 06:41 PM
how about a sports center with an ice rink, batting cages, driving range, bowling,mini golf and the sorts. would draw huge input from all the children in the area.
Nik Bonopartis February 24, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Looks like there's a lot of support for commercial property. Just to hopefully add to the discussion...Starwood is into this for $28 mil, any development is going to have to return on that investment. Regarding a new hospital, uninsured ER visits at Greenwich Hospital have increased exponentially since UH closed, and as of last year 40 percent of patients were from NY. Greenwich Hospital is well-funded, much more so than UH was. http://mofflymedia.com/From-the-Founder/October-2011/Greenwich-Hospital-Tightens-Its-Belt/ http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E6DD103DF931A25753C1A96E9C8B63&pagewanted=all
George Datino February 24, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I think you meant to say "..., any commercial development is going to have to return on that investment."!
Nancy Mattson February 25, 2012 at 01:12 AM
When UH was a operating hosoital the hospital Board of Directors hired presidents that were actively reducung the overall debt of the hospital. If I recall, they had multiyear contracts. Yet these presdeints were let go long before the contract term expired. Why? Also if UH was so deep in debt, why did the Board spend money for new furniture, pianting and a proposed outlside medical office? Why was not this money used to knock down the debt? Why were a real esate agent, a real esate attorney and a corporate bankruptcy specialist allowed on the Board? Is this not a conflict of interest? What happened to the large beqesut that was left to the hospital by a local wealthy person? Why was not this money returned to the estate? Was it even really used for the hospital? We need the state to investegate these questions.
Pam February 25, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Yes rebuild the hospital...that is more needed than any shopping area!!
Linda Turturino February 25, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Hi Rick, Think that is an excellent idea ..PC needs a WOW factor that will bring people here spend money and go. We dont need housing and within the wow factor a 24 hr walk in set up properly to accomodate people who dont need or cant afford an ER and of course a state of the art dog park/training center because dogs need exercise too !
Bea Conetta February 26, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Nancy, You are right to say that the United Hospital was actually coming back financially not too long before it declared bankruptcy. Before that happened, a group of residents, including our mayor and myself were fighting to prevent the senior center and a theater from being built on Abendroth Park. The builders were trying to get the UH to give them a right of way across the hospital grounds to exit on High Street. I called the President of UH a number of times to voice our opposition to it. I can't recall his name, but it was known that he was doing a good job turning the UH around. I always thought at the time and still do think that what happened there was not above board. Our wonderful Hospital should never have been closed. The Board of Directors never asked for help from the government as the ailing Medical Center did. We in Port Chester were not told that the UH was in trouble until it declared bankruptcy. We'll never know what the truth actually is. We can certainly use a hospital or a medical center here, so I hope that will be a consideration.
Linda Turturino February 26, 2012 at 06:43 PM
any one have any comment on the old Mary Ann's and Wendy's on the Post Rd ...we need a draw to PC Chili's would be a good one and a good buffett maybe like Golden Corral in Florida not that we need more restaurants but we need a draw and they will come no more housing ....!!!! PS yes I agree we need a Lowe's HD is a dump and it is run like one
Aidan February 28, 2012 at 12:19 AM
No more housing ... that's the key.
PC fam March 01, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I completely agree with idea of reopening a hospital or clinic. However, if that idea won't even be considered, then I would agree with opening up a sports center as Rick mentioned plus maybe even including a Monkey Joes or an outlet mall (w/ similar shops as Woodbury Commons)with restaurants/bar that offers indoor and outdoor dining would be great. As for the Wendys/Mary Anns properties, if zoning laws allow, maybe opening a Christmas Tree Shop or Lowes. No matter what direction you plan on taking, PLEASE, PLEASE do not build additonal housing unless, like Aidan mentioned, it has the same guidelines as Heritage Hills.
George Datino March 01, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Forget about housing guidlines. Put in a place where people can put a bed in this town and people will figure out how to put a whole family there.
Keith Morlino March 17, 2012 at 04:33 PM
One of the problems with bringing back a hospital is no tax revenue to the town. Even though that property is "abandon" it is bringing in nice tax revenue to the town now. Not that this should not be the only consideration for bringing a hospital back, but it is a major one to think about along with can a hospital be managed effectively and i believe one cannot. I also agree that housing is not the way to go but a nice hotel/conference center might work out well...Costco would have been good over there instead of on the waterfront where it now resides. A business conference center of some sort I think would fit in nicely mixed in with a park or retail maybe ??
Anne Latella July 05, 2012 at 09:55 PM
A Private Hospital would be a large taxpayer and also serve the community with much needed services.


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