Hospital near deal on parking garage Riverview can buy facility after 20-year lease expires By john burton Staff Writer

Hospital near deal on parking garage
Riverview can buy facility after 20-year lease expires By john burton
Staff Writer

Riverview Medical Center has struck a deal with Red Bank that would extend the lease on the Globe Court parking garage for an additional 20 years, borough officials announced.

At last week’s meeting, the Borough Council granted preliminary approval to an ordinance that would extend Riverview’s lease for 20 years, after which time the medical center would have the opportunity to assume ownership of the facility.

The current 20-year lease was scheduled to expire in 2002, and negotiations between the borough and medical center had been ongoing, according to Borough Administrator Stanley J. Sickels.

"They (Riverview officials) were willing to negotiate if they could take ownership," Sickels said.

The terms of the agreement include having the medical center pay the borough $230,000 upfront so the municipality could pay off remaining debt from the construction. Riverview will also pay $210,000 a year for the lease, according to Sickels.

When the lease expires in 20 years, Riverview would have the option to purchase the garage for $1, Sickels said.

In addition, Riverview would pay the borough $24,000 a year in lieu of property taxes, according to Sickels.

As a nonprofit entity, Riverview is exempt from property taxes but does use some borough services. The payment would offset the cost of those services, according to Diane Gribbin, Riverview’s communications director.

Riverview would also provide up to $18,000 a year in some medical services for borough employees, Gribbin noted. These services would include pre-employment screening and physical examinations, as well as services to meet the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration’s regulatory requirements, Gribbin said.

"As Red Bank’s largest employer, we always hope to work with the borough to benefit the community," said Gribbin.

The ordinance, however, is subject to the bidding process, but any "bidder, to be successful, must offer to the borough a better agreement to the economic advantages the borough" will receive under the present agreement, the ordinance states.

Any bids must be submitted to the administrator’s office no later than 10 a.m. Jan. 8 to be considered, the ordinance states.

In all likelihood, Sickels acknowledged, the agreement will be awarded to Riverview.

"It’s a very good plan for the borough," Sickels said.

"It’s a win-win for the borough and the hospital," said Council President Pasquale Menna. "The numbers are where we wanted them."

"This new lease agreement will continue to provide convenient parking for employees and visitors and allows us to meet the needs for close and safe parking," said Ann Gavzy, vice president of legal affairs and general counsel for Meridian Health System, which owns Riverview.

The Globe Court parking garage is located on the corner of East Front Street and Globe Court across from the medical center, and was constructed about 20 years ago.

The garage has five stories and 519 parking spaces. Currently there is no charge to park in the garage.