A new four-story building could bring much needed health services to Newark’s Clinton Hill neighborhood.
The project at 479-485 Clinton Avenue, approved unanimously by the zoning board of adjustment on March 30, requires the demolition of four existing structures at the corner of Clinton and Bergen avenues. The site will become the fourth branch of St. James Health. The health organization provides medical care and other wellness services to the uninsured, according to Nicole Fields, chief executive officer.
“Our patients don’t like to leave the ward they live in — for primary care they really don’t leave,” said Fields, who noted the a high no-show rate when her organization refers patients to appointments in other wards. “By bringing it all in one building we’re able to provide quality care for our patients.”
In addition to an urgent-care facility, the building will also have a on-site pharmacy and a YMCA gym. Brick Education Network, a charter school that has been looking for a new home, will be located on the fourth floor.
The design, which reaches four stories in a redevelopment zone that limits building height to three stories, is necessary for so many health services to exist at one location, according to Steve Schoch, principal at Thriven Design.
“I think it’s pretty clear the benefit and desire to have these compatible community benefit uses all in one place,” said Schoch, adding that the new offices would be a ‘signature building” along the Clinton Avenue corridor. “We’ve gone to significant lengths to make sure it is a transparent and vibrant building.”
Latrice Smith, a South 10th Street resident, said that having a pharmacy near her doctor’s office would make life a lot easier. “Most of the time we have to go catch a bus to get our medication after we go to the doctor, which creates another hardship,” Smith said.
Other community members noted that having a new St. James Health branch would relieve the overcrowding at hospitals in the city. “There was one person I know that was not feeling well and that person sat in the emergency room for six hours,” Janice Reliford Afolo said.