An artist's rendering of a proposed makeover for Lenox Hill...

An artist's rendering of a proposed makeover for Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.  Credit: Northwell Health

Northwell Health's Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan could be getting a $2.5 billion makeover.

The New Hyde Park-based health system's plan includes building a 30-story tower, nearly quadrupling its emergency room to 56,000 square feet and completely renovating and expanding its patient and operating rooms.

The project would take up to eight years to complete, Northwell said. The plan needs city and community board approvals to proceed.

"We've invested $200 million in Lenox Hill just to keep the lights on and plumbing working," said Michael J. Dowling, Northwell's president and CEO. "But the most recent building on the Lenox Hill campus is from 1972. It's old. If we are going to have a major presence in Manhattan and offer state-of-the-art health care, we are going to need a whole new facility."

Northwell took over Lenox Hill in 2010.

The project will expand the hospital's footprint to about 1.3 million square feet from 780,000 square feet, Dowling said.

To help pay for the expansion, Northwell plans to partner with a residential developer to build a 200-unit, 41-story apartment tower on a portion of the Lenox Hill property on Park Avenue and 76th Street. Dowling said Northwell didn't expect to strike a development deal until after it received approvals.

"If the project is $2.5 billion, we could get half of that with the residential plan," Dowling said. "We will get a substantial amount of money."

He added the rest of the money would come through operations, fundraising and borrowing.

Northwell is also building a block-long, 250,000-square-foot facility on Third Avenue between 76th Street and 77th Street. That facility will include a cancer and ambulatory surgery center, as well as medical offices.

The health system operates eight hospitals, one free-standing emergency department, 17 urgent care centers and 142 ambulatory and physician practices in New York's five boroughs. It also runs one specialty hospital, Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, in Manhattan.

Northwell has raised more than $500 million since 2016 to support capital improvements, clinical programs, research projects and teaching initiatives.

The capital projects include a 314,704-square-foot Advanced Surgical Pavilion at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. The project is expected to include 18 operating rooms, 44 ICU beds, a lobby at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, and two levels of parking under the building. 

Northwell also plans to build a five-story employee parking garage and a new pavilion for private patient rooms at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. The pavilion would include 90 private rooms, four operating rooms and 48 pre- and postoperative holding rooms.

The health system said it was working through zoning approvals on the projects.

Donations will also go toward building a new operating suite to expand pediatric surgical programs at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park.

Northwell Health is the largest private employer in the state, with 68,000 employees. 

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