Friday, April 12, 2024

JUST IN: Kelsey Hospital to be demolished, Corewell Health giving property to village of LakeviewFree Access

The main entrance to Kelsey Hospital at at 418 Washington Ave. in Lakeview. Corewell Health closed the hospital permanently last year. — DN file photo

LAKEVIEW — The property formerly home to Kelsey Hospital is now going to be in the hands of the village of Lakeview.

Corewell Health on Thursday announced plans to transfer ownership of the land where the now-shuttered hospital operated to the village of Lakeview. The ownership transfer will be made through a purchase of the property for $1.

The ownership transfer will not happen until Corewell Health has abated the building of any hazardous materials and demolished it, leaving a blank slate for the village and developers. After reviewing the 41,000-square-foot former hospital building which encompasses nearly an entire downtown village block, developers and village officials agreed that the existing building did not offer a canvas from which developers would want to renovate or build onto.

Demolition work on the current site is expected to begin in March and be complete by early summer. The combined property parcels are located on 1.62 acres in a commercially zoned portion of town with access to natural gas, electric and village water and sewer.

“People don’t like change, especially when it comes to situations like this,” Lakeview Village Manager Darin Dood said. “Our community certainly is reeling from the emotions attached to Kelsey. I have been optimistic from the start and think everyone recognizes the importance and financial investment of the new facility out on M-46 is to our community. The village is excited about embracing this new opportunity for growth in the community where Kelsey once stood.”

Kelsey Hospital began in 1908 when Dr. Lee E. Kelsey and his wife Lillian, a registered nurse, began seeing patients in their home. The hospital saw a variety of affiliations and mergers over the years. The Lena Rader Meijer Emergency Department opened in 2008, a banner day for Lakeview, and a sign the hospital was growing and needed. However, Kelsey Hospital stopped doing surgeries around 2013, and then came the pandemic in 2020, when 12 of Kelsey’s ER doctors were deployed to other facilities and two other doctors lost their jobs.

Corewell Health announced last August that Kelsey Hospital would be closed, citing a steady decline in utilization of the hospital over the past decade, with fewer hospital admissions year after year as neighboring hospitals’ capabilities have grown. The 115-year-old hospital was shuttered by October and 108 employees lost their jobs there. The hospital’s 31-bed rehab and nursing center (RNC), which provided long-term care and sub-acute rehabilitation for patients in the community, was down to 17 residents when it too closed along with the hospital.

“For more than 100 years, the Kelsey Hospital team cared for Lakeview area residents, and the hospital itself has been an asset to the community,” stated Kristie Smith, chief operating officer of Corewell Health Greenville Hospital, in a press release issued Thursday. “We believe transferring ownership of the land to the village of Lakeview will allow the local community to decide how the land can best serve the community in the future. Corewell Health is committed to continuing to care for the community in our new Lakeview Care Center.”

Last June, Corewell Health opened the Lakeview Care Center, a more than $12 million project on M-46 less than a mile and a half from the former Kelsey Hospital. Lakeview Family Medicine relocated to the new facility and Corewell Health added outpatient rehabilitation, lab and a walk-in clinic, as well as space for specialty care services.

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