By Briana Vannozzi
In a room full of political heavy hitters, Valley Hospital and Health System executives announced plans to expand its Bergen County footprint — relocating the main campus from Ridgewood to Paramus. It’s the home of an existing satellite facility and cancer center.
Valley Hospital’s President, Audrey Meyers, says, “We are laying out a plan for the Department of Health that says we are going to build a facility that has 372 beds in approximately 910,000 square feet.”
The move comes after years of municipal infighting over expanding the Ridgewood campus. There are no designs yet, but the price tag is estimated at about $735 million to be paid for through bonding and private donors.
“The facility in Ridgewood will remain. It will be a vibrant health care campus. We’ll have urgent care facilities, endoscopy, radiology, laboratories and a whole host of outpatient and ambulatory services,” said Meyers.
A UPS building is the planned site for the new hospital campus. It’s about two and a half miles from Valley’s current location in Ridgewood, and it’s right across the street from the existing facility in Paramus. Hospital executives expect to break ground in two years with a planned opening in 2023.
The mayor of Paramus, Richard Labarbiera, said, “This is a portion of the town that has been underutilized and has some dated and aged uses, the old industrial etc. We also have some tired office space in this area and this is something that will re-purpose that antiquated industrial use and prop up the office.”
Valley is one of few health systems left in New Jersey that hasn’t merged with a larger network. The expansion and relocation is expected to keep it competitive in the North Jersey market. According to the state, it’s the third busiest hospital in New Jersey.
“We celebrate the expansion’s plans for flexibility, use of advanced technology, its dedication to enhancing patient care and service its innovation and ultimately its vital role in the health and wellness of the greater community,” said Sen. Bob Menendez.
Sen. Bob Gordon said, “I’m hoping that what we’re going to have is the critical mass that will create a health care hub in this region that will attract even more resources.”
A couple of thousand permanent jobs are expected to be created. The county says its engineers will work to improve traffic flow to this highly congested area. But nothing can happen until the state approves Valley’s certificate of need application that’s being filed on Feb. 1.