12/09/2010Posted by MJ
A public hearing will be held Friday on a local medical outfit’s request for tax breaks to develop offices and an ambulatory surgery center on East Avenue.One of the hurdles is findnig a way to play nice with Eastern Niagara Hospital, who's approval would be needed:
The hearing, at 3:45 p.m. Friday at Lockport City Hall, is for Great Lakes Surgical Associates, whose shareholders include Lockport general surgeons Dr. Jeffrey Schratz and Dr. Robert Hodge.
The outfit is seeking an agreement with Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for sales and mortgage tax exemption, and 10 years of property tax exemption, on redeveloped property at 160 East Ave. A vote on the PILOT request could be held next week.
The surgeons have proposed renovating the existing building to house their practice, currently at Elizabeth Drive, and provide extra space for a four-unit ambulatory surgery center for eye, ears-nose-throat, gastroenterology and orthopedic specialists....
Lougen acknowledged Great Lakes Surgical Associates’ bid to build an ambulatory surgery center may face resistance from Eastern Niagara Hospital Systems, since realistically ambulatory centers compete with hospitals for surgical business. NCIDA board Chairman Henry Sloma, a health care management expert, noted the state will be looking for the hospital’s support of Great Lakes’ application for a certificate of need.Hopefully they can find a working agreement to bring some more professionals downtown and bring new life into a vacant building.
“I expect that may be difficult,” Lougen said. “We would not look to take business from the hospital, we would hope to enhance services (for) the hospital,” by helping attract medical specialists to the area.