Long Island College Hospital bidder chosen

Brooklyn's Cobble Hill neighborhood would likely keep its only full-service hospital under a proposal being negotiated with the owner of the money-losing facility.

The State University of New York, which now owns Long Island College Hospital, Thursday greenlighted negotiations on a $250 million bid from the Brooklyn Health Partners Development, a group formed expressly for the purpose of the project.

The bid calls for a 300- to 400-bed hospital to be built in two or three years, and a "bridge facility" with 100 beds, until the full-service hospital opens. The plan also calls for 1,000 units of housing on the site, of which about 30 percent will be priced below the market rate.

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LICH, as the facility is known, became a campaign issue in last year's mayoral race, an emblem of neighborhoods losing local hospitals. Community activists worried that SUNY would sell LICH -- with its views of the Statue of Liberty -- to luxury developers. Mayor Bill de Blasio was arrested last year in a civil-disobedience demonstration while protesting LICH's proposed closure.

Yesterday's decision on the bid -- besting eight other proposals -- signaled that the hospital was unlikely to close.

Jim Walden, an attorney from the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm that handled the case pro bono for the community groups, said LICH supporters are "quite pleased."

"This should be a day for the community to celebrate another step toward a permanent health care solution for LICH," Walden said.

"The conclusion of the RFP process is an important milestone for SUNY and the community," said SUNY chairman H. Carl McCall.

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