Health Quest gets OK for new facility at Hudson Valley Mall

The Ulster Town Board granted site plan approval earlier this month to Health Quest in the company’s bid to open a medical facility in the former Macy’s at the Hudson Valley Mall, a project that would cost around $20 million to complete and might not be finished for two years.

During a presentation before the town board on Monday, Nov. 19, Architect Douglas DeGroat described some of the anticipated features in the facility.

“This is just a general floor plan right now that we’ve worked out, showing the different modalities, with urgent care right by the main entrance, imaging, a phlebotomy lab, primary care … a physical therapy gym, oncology, cardiology a lot of ‘ologies’ actually coming through here, specialty practices,” said DeGroat. Around 40 healthcare providers are anticipated in the facility upon completion, with the likelihood of between 120-150 employees on the site.

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In the current plan, the space formerly occupied by Macy’s will be separated from the rest of the mall during construction and renovation, with roughly 40,000 square feet of the existing 110,000 square feet earmarked for demolition, leaving a space of around 90 feet between the Health Quest facility and the southern portion of the mall that the owner of the mall, the Hull Property Group, reportedly plans to fill in with grass. Further landscaping improvements are also in the works said Brandee Nelson, project manager on the Health Quest proposal.

“We’re going to remove some of the landscaping that is overgrown and messy and replace it with new landscaping,” Nelson said. “Where a sidewalk is being removed in front of the old egress door we’ll fill in with landscaping to match the existing landscaping.”

Town Supervisor James Quigley III said this week that while he’d heard speculation about Health Quest coming to the Hudson Valley Mall for nearly two years, it was only around the time that the company signed a lease in September that he felt more confident that it might materialize.

“It was promised for a long time,” Quigley said. “It finally came together and we look forward to the first steps in revitalizing the mall. Here’s the issue, quite frankly. I kept hearing Health Quest, Health Quest, Health Quest, but I never heard from Health Quest. And it was only in the last two months that Health Quest came forward and actually initiated a conversation between themselves and the Town that gave me any assurances that it was in fact going to happen.”

The supervisor described the proposal as relatively straightforward, one which takes into account the existing structure.

“It was really a simple process,” Quigley said. “It’s an adaptive reuse of an existing footprint. We got it done expeditiously.”

Nelson agreed. “It’s very limited in the way of site improvements because it’s mostly an adaptive reuse of an existing building,” she said. “The site improvements are going to be limited to reworking exterior egress doors.”

Next summer for primary care

While the entire project, including its ambulatory surgery center, could take two years to complete, the plan is to have some parts open by the summer.

“Primary care, we’re shooting for a June occupancy date,” said DeGroat. “The rest will follow.”

The urgent care portion of the facility will not be open around the clock. “You’re probably looking at 8-8,” said DeGroat. “They’re going to have extended hours, but not 24 hours.”

With the former Macy’s headed toward a new use, two hubs at the Hudson Valley Mall remain vacant: JC Penney closed its doors at the mall in 2015, while Sears shuttered earlier this year.

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