- Last Updated: 12:52 AM, August 8, 2012
- Posted: 12:06 AM, August 8, 2012
BETWEEN THE BRICKS
The city’s first proton-based cancer-busting machine is now targeted on East Harlem.
A consortium of area hospitals had been trying to get the machine in at a series of city sites since 2010 — first on West 57th Street with Avalon Bay Communities, and then last year with Related Cos. for the base of a proposed tower on East 92nd Street.
When those deals fell through, the group checked out Vornado Realty Trust’s L-shaped office tower site in Harlem, but worried it would not work so well as better tumor fighting results with more treating rooms are achieved by running the protons in a straight line.
“They need a rectangle of about 40,000 square feet,” explained Mark Weiss of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, the consortium’s broker.
The state’s Dept. of Health already has approvals in place for the giant contraption — wherever it lands. Now, patients have to travel to Boston or Philadelphia to get the focused radiation treatment.
The New York Proton Center partnership, led by 21st Century Oncology, based in Ft. Myers, Fla., includes the local hospitals Memorial Sloan Kettering, NYU, Mt. Sinai, Montefiore Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners, which encompasses Beth Israel, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals.
Now, the group is focused on a portion of car dealer Potamkin’s full block at 2485 Second Ave. between East 127th and 128th streets that runs to Third Avenue.
“There is an executed letter of intent,” said Weiss, who has represented several hospitals in numerous lease transactions.
According to Norton Travis, the executive vice president and general counsel of 21st Century Oncology, a 120,000-square-foot building designed by VOA would be developed on the site under a long-term ground lease.
“We are in earnest discussions and optimistic this will be our site and working together as to what will be a lease,” said Travis. “We decided it would be the absolute best for the consortium and moreover for the City of New York to locate this facility and bring cutting-edge science and jobs to Harlem.”
The facility is expected to open in 2015 or 2016 and will be able to treat 1,300 to 1,400 people per year, Travis said, far fewer than the number of expected prospective patients.
Therefore, children are expected to be given priority because growing vital organs can be spared the most harm by the focused radiation.
Currently, Potamkin operates a Hyundai and Mitsubishi dealership in one building on the site and leases out another — one that used to house a GM dealership for Chevrolets and Cadillacs.