By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — Baring any further weather disruptions, the long-dormant Riverside Hospital complex should be open for business as a medical mall by fall, according to the latest report given to city officials.
City Administrator Jim Wagner said recent reports from property owner Dr. Iqbal Nasir have been promising.
“They have said they have tenants for the professional building,” Wagner said.
Specific offices had not been determined, but Wagner said city officials were optimistic that the project remained on schedule, although some construction and utility work had been delayed due to the harsher-than-normal winter.
“I think they have people interested, and just need the weather to change to get back into the renovations and get people in there,” Wagner said.
Wagner said further meetings were expected this month to confirm schedules and progress. Nasir reportedly told the city that the site was waiting for utility companies to bring electric and gas to the location. A route for power lines reportedly has been confirmed and some excavation work remained — a project awaiting a change in the weather.
Regardless of a winter delay, city officials remained optimistic the project will continue this year and the Jefferson Avenue site of the former Riverside Osteopathic Hospital will again be put to use. The hospital closed in 2002, was sold by Henry Ford Health Systems in 2009 and, after several owners, was purchased by Nasir in 2011. Nasir’s original proposal of a nursing facility stalled and the property and buildings became a local eyesore and magnet to vandals and thrill-seekers.
Last year city officials reached an agreement with Nasir, who finalized deed specifications with Henry Ford Health Systems and began demolition and restoration work. Two buildings were demolished, old gas lines were removed and the site was cleared of asbestos and contaminants.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected])