Long Island College Hospital bidder chosen

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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.

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.

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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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