Construction of New Facility at Former Riverside Hospital Delayed
Iqbal Nasir purchased the former Riverside Hospital property with hopes of creating an assisted living facility and skilled nursing center, but a deed restriction has halted construction.
Construction at the former Riverside Hospital property has been halted for several months due to a deed restriction in the contract between owner Iqbal Nasir and former owner Henry Ford Health Systems.
Nasir, chief of staff at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center, purchased the property with hopes of building an assisted living facility and skilled nursing center, but a restriction prohibits any medical facilities on the site, according to Trenton City Administrator Jim Wagner.
The deed restriction
Wagner said the contract states if the conditions of the contract aren't met "the project will not proceed and the agreement shall become null and void."
The deed restriction prohibits the sale of the property to persons and/or entities that would be in direct competition of Henry Ford Health Systems, but Nasir said at last Monday's Trenton City Council meeting his facility doesn't provide the same services as Henry Ford Health Systems and, therefore, would not be competition.
Nasir spoke to Trenton city council members and city administrators last in an effort to work together with city officials on getting permission to continue with construction.
"It has been taking too long ... it costs me everyday," Nasir said. "We live in this community and we have an obligation to take care of this community."
In August 2011, Nasir told Trenton Patch the new facility could be operational in about one year. However, construction has yet to begin.
Nasir said he pays $200,000 in taxes annually to own the property and each days construction is halted costs him more money. He added he would be happy to pay five times that amount if it meant his project would be up and running.
"It's time for you to do something," Nasir said to city officials. "Services have been taken away from this community and it's time to bring those services back to this community."
The project would be about a $13 million transformation of the current property, while salvaging some of the existing buildings and demolishing only a small portion.
Nasir said the new facility could create up to 600 jobs.
Working on a solution
Nasir drafted a four-page letter addressed to two top-ranking officers of Henry Ford Health System, Chief Executive Officer Nancy Schlichting and President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Riney, and James Sexton, chief operating officer of Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.
Wagner said in the letter Nasir explained to the three officers what he planned to do with the property and asked for a deed modification in order to continue construction on the project.
"I believe Mr. Riney and Mr. Sexton have been very open about why the deed restriction was put there (in the contract), and also Mr. Sexton is very cognizant of the economic impact Riverside Hospital would have on the City of Trenton and its residents," Wagner said in regard to the contract.
It is unclear if Nasir knew the deed restriction was in the contract when he purchased the property. He has owned the property for at least two years.
Wagner said he planned to meet with the city's attorney Wallace Long to inquire on the issue.
"I'm confident that Henry Ford Health System and those people that run Henry Ford Health System know how important this is to the well being of the City of Trenton and its residents," Wagner said.
Wagner said he is optimistic the matter would be resolved in the very near future.