Positive Impact of Riverside
St. Luke's Riverside Makes Positive Impact on Local Economy
More Than $60 Million in Hard Construction Contracts Awarded to 45 Regional Contractors and Businesses
Bethlehem Township, PA (10/22/2010) – The construction of St. Luke's Riverside Hospital on the Richard A. Anderson Campus at Freemansburg Avenue and Route 33 in Bethlehem Campus continues at a rapid pace. The site teems with construction workers. Each day brings visible progress to even the most casual observer.
To the leaders in the community, the project represents the single largest investment in the local economy in years.
“I believe St. Luke's Hospital and its Board of Directors should be commended for their continuing efforts in improving the health care and quality of life issues for our region,” said Ann McHale, Northampton County Council. “This project is an exciting and historical development for our Lehigh Valley residents, especially those in Northampton and Monroe counties, who will now have convenience, leading edge technology and job possibilities all located in our own community. “
Bethlehem Township Manager Howard Kutzler agrees. “This is an exciting time with a project of this magnitude redefining the township and providing access to excellent health care, while simultaneously and sensitively maintaining the fabric of Bethlehem Township for future generations,” he said.
To the leaders at St. Luke's, the project represents a concept that started with exploring options with community partners along with a great deal of planning, is fast becoming a reality.
“When you enter the construction site, it's very fulfilling to see all of the activity,” said Richard A. Anderson, President and CEO of St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network and the location namesake. “The total economic impact of this site will be felt for years to come.”
Completion Targeted for December 2011
The Richard A. Anderson Campus will feature three interconnected buildings – an acute care inpatient St. Luke's Riverside Hospital, Cancer Center and a medical office building. This phase of development will offer nearly 260,000 square feet of space and is expected to be complete in December 2011, with the hospital opening to patients in January 2012. Specialty areas include Orthopedics, an Emergency Department and Surgical Services.
“Currently, a substantial amount of site work is completed, and our goal is to enclose the three buildings by winter,” said Anita Kingsbauer, Executive Director of St. Luke's Riverside. “Once the buildings are enclosed, the interior work will gain momentum and continue through next year.”
Local Businesses and Contractors Building the Site
St. Luke’s is investing more than $60 million in hard construction costs for contracts awarded to and services provided by 45 local businesses and contractors to build the hospital, medical office building and cancer center.
“St. Luke's decision to construct this project, when other companies have chosen to wait, underscores our commitment to the community both in providing health care and stimulating the economy,” Kingsbauer said. “We borrowed money for this project and are not using stimulus money. We've created instant construction jobs and long-term employment opportunities that directly correlate to the amount of money families spend.” This means, said Kingsbauer, that millions of dollars will stay in the region to help support the local economy partially through construction worker's paychecks.
Mike Albarell of Albarell Electric in Bethlehem said, “This project couldn't have come at a better time for the local construction market. We feel very privileged to be involved in this state-of-the-art project knowing the immediate impact it has had on the construction trades and the long term economic impact that it will have on the local community for many years.”
When fully developed, the Richard A. Anderson Campus is expected to be the largest contiguous health care campus in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the United States.
The hospital will be the first general, non-replacement in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in more than 40 years.
Support from the Commonwealth
Last October, Governor Edward Rendell announced more than $17 million in investments to support the campus. The Commonwealth's funding supports an initial investment of more than $182 million by St. Luke's for land acquisition and construction of 251,000-square feet of new hospital and medical space. The $182 million also includes $25 million in local road improvements to Freemansburg Avenue.
The comprehensive package includes funding from several Pennsylvania departments - the Department of Community & Economic Development with funding from the Infrastructure Facilities and Improvement Program; the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to support improvements to Freemansburg Avenue; and the House Republican and Democratic caucuses through the Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program.
“St. Luke's Riverside project will enhance the lives of thousands of Pennsylvanians as well as have a dramatic economic impact on the region,” said Anderson. “St. Luke's expects to initially create more than 685 new direct jobs and 700 indirect jobs representing a yearly payroll impact of $28 million and an indirect payroll impact of $30 million. To date, an estimated 150 to 200 construction jobs have already been created.”
Positive Impact on the Community
“New staff will need to be hired for these new facilities – which will generate the need for housing, ultimately increasing the demand for real estate. New families joining the community will increase the number of people and dollars spent shopping in local stores, eating in local restaurants and spending time in various entertainment venues,” said Joel Fagerstrom, Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer, St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network. “Every extra dollar spent by these families impacts local business owners and helps to stimulate the economy. The economic impact of this project exponentially increases with each new family that joins the community.”
Long-term Growth of the Campus
The development of the entire Richard A. Anderson Campus will take several decades to complete. The 500 acres of property are divided into two sections each with the capacity to create direct and indirect jobs. The 200 acres west of Route 33 will encompass more than one million square feet of construction and create an estimated 5,280 permanent new direct and indirect jobs, as well as thousands of new construction jobs. Over the longer term, an additional one million square feet of hospital, research and clinical space and 4,100 more new direct new and indirect jobs are anticipated. Consideration is being given to moving The Medical School of Temple/St Luke's Hospital & Health Network to the campus in the future.
Development of the 300 acres east of Route 33 can accommodate the construction of at least 3.5 million square feet of mixed-use space. These facilities have the potential to create 5,500 new direct health care and non-health care related jobs as well as a substantial number of indirect jobs.
Last month, the Network announced reaching its $50 million fundraising goal in year 4 as part of its 5-year “Committed to Caring” campaign, $20 million of which is designated to the Anderson Campus.
“To be able to build a brand new hospital that is backed by an organization with demonstrated commitment to the community and one that has more than a hundred years of providing health care experience is an amazing prospect,” said Kingsbauer. “St. Luke's will continue to deliver excellent quality care while being a good neighbor and a steward to the environment. This new campus represents the culmination of many years of planning and a dream turned into a reality that will make a difference for many generations to come.”