Coming Back Soon? Neponsit ADHC
According to Sands Point Professional Building owner, Tom Catanese, he and his company are doing everything they can to make it so.
“It took months to get the building back together. Now we’re only about a month away,” Catanese advised The Wave.
With his brother, Alphonse, he owns the building under their company, Chestnut Station, Inc. Until Hurricane Sandy forced them to temporarily move elsewhere, the Neponsit ADHC made its home in the one story structure at Beach 102nd Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
Speaking from his office within the building, Catanese was anxious to show what progress has been made.
The building at 230 Beach 102nd Street sustained heavy damage during the storm. The displaced staff, registrants and program moved in with the adult day care program at Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn.
They have been there for the past year and a half. Over that time, registrants, who live in Rockaway, say they have endured dealing with the hardship of traveling and the stress of this prolonged move. They also say they have been given varying dates as to when they would move back to Rockaway.
When asked about the delay, the Health and Hospitals Corporation noted in a statement to The Wave that “As a healthcare facility, construction and repairs have to follow unusually strict guidelines that guarantee safety for the patients and staff, as well as access to essential equipment and services. We expect that patients will be able to return by late spring or early summer.”
“The building had three feet of water (during the storm). We removed 20 yards of sand,” he said.
Even before renovation work could begin, he said, “Health and Hospitals had to take everything out first. Equipment, records. Everything.”
Besides owning several other properties, Catanese and his brother also run a contracting business. His office space at the Sands Point building still looks like an unfinished construction site. Although other businesses, such as Doctors of the World, Catholic Charities and Sands Point Physical Therapy are up and running, the building itself also shows work is still in progress.
“We had to cut out the walls about four feet up,” he said. “We just got a lot of that back in and just painted.”
“The requirements we have to meet come through the city.”
“We have to go through all kinds of tests, to check for mold, to make sure the air was cleaned,” he explained.
“You should have seen this place when we started,” he said.
Walking through the 9,000 square foot facility, where the smell of fresh paint is still in the air, a tour of the empty rooms showed a great deal has been done.
In the time since the storm, Catanese explained “drains had to be pumped. They were full of sand. Electric had to be rebuilt. All the plumbing had to be rebuilt.”
Besides that, all fixtures had to be taken out, all doors had to be removed and replaced and all sheetrock, insulation and painting had to be redone.
The Neponsit ADHC space contained several offices, a large kitchen, bathrooms and shower area, a medical care area and a ‘quiet room.’
Standing in the empty main activities room, Catanese noted that the flooring still needed to be finished and the drop ceiling had to go in.
Once his crew is done, he explained, the rest is up to Health and Hospitals.
“They have to come in and put everything back in.”
“They have to stock it all up with medical supplies. There’ll be cleaning, shelving. They’ve got to get the kitchen back, bring the fridges, the stoves.”
“It’s up to them at that point,” he said.
Catanese pointed out that non-profit groups “like St. Mary’s For Kids and St. John’s blended case management,” are his main tenants in the building.
“We built this place for the community. Our major goal is to put it back,” he said.
“Ten, 11 years ago,” Catanese recalled, “we fought to get the (Neponsit) program into this building.”
“The place is going to be back. It’s going to be beautiful and strong.”
How soon might that be?