Adaptive Reuse Effort Converts NYC Warehouse to Surgery Center

By HCO Staff

NEW YORK—Eastman Cooke & Associates, a Manhattan-based, mid-sized construction company, is completing an impressive adaptive reuse project at 438 West 51st Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, transforming it into a modern medical center for Sovereign Medical Group, a multi-practice community healthcare system. The core-and-shell conversion of the 28,700-square-foot, formerly five-story circa 1905 warehouse entailed a three-story roof extension, upgrades of vital operating systems, and a complete installation of the infrastructure systems.

“This has been one of the most rewarding, as well as most challenging projects we’ve had in years, starting with the scope of the construction on a narrow, densely populated block,” pointed out Peter Morandi, Chief Executive Officer, LEED AP, Eastman Cooke & Associates. “In addition to extensive infrastructure upgrades, the façade work required artisan-skill levels because we were reconstructing a landmark building, albeit long-abandoned.”

Working in collaboration with architecture and interior design firm Stonehill Taylor, the project required the preservation of the original façade and brickwork, which had been severely impacted by decades of corrosion and neglect. The antiquated cast iron beams holding up the building were married with new structural steel using a variety of methods developed by the design and installing contractors. The Eastman Cooke team expanded the building below-grade by chiseling through bedrock, while concurrently extending the upper levels three stories higher.

Employing its proprietary Work Smart System, comprising a series of highly collaborative, step-by-step protocols led by the firm’s project managers, estimators, and field staff, Eastman Cooke was able to successfully coordinate with the many subcontractors and government agencies to rig a generator, nine chillers, two enormous hospital-grade RTU units, and provide the infrastructure to support all to the roof. Crews worked weekends to put in new sewer and water services, with minimal disruption to the community, while strictly adhering to all safety protocols and keeping the project on schedule.

Once the exterior and infrastructure work were accomplished, the Eastman Cooke team went to work on the complex and highly coordinated interior build-out, now close to completion. When finished, there will be an inviting reception area designed to enhance the patient experience, examination and diagnostic areas, pre- and post-surgical rooms, four state-of-the-art operating rooms, and a full on-site equipment sterilization.

Now in the final punch-list stage, the Sovereign Medical Group Center has opened much of its services with full operations anticipated for the fall.