Riverside clears planners, set for development

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON – Work crews should soon be a regular presence at the transformed Riverside Wellness Center, the long-dormant hospital complex at 2171 West Jefferson.

Following last month’s final approval by city planners of the planned urban development proposed by NAMA Management on behalf of owner Dr. Iqbal Nasir, city officials said the first of four phases for the complex is ready to begin.

City Administrator Jim Wagner said the professional building of medical offices is targeted for occupancy by year’s end, as approved by the planning commission on July 27. Wagner met with developers and engineers last week as final contracts were reviewed to begin final rehabilitation of the buildings.

Work will also soon begin on the more extensive restoration of the larger, former osteopathic hospital buildings. The dominant structures sat vacant for years before Nasir bought the grounds and facilities from Henry Ford Health Systems in 2009. In the years since, the buildings had become something of a magnet for nuisance crimes and vandalism and the grounds a source of blight.

Resident concerns increased – and resulted in recommendations of demolition in lieu of development – while Nasir and city officials wrestled with the requirements of deed restrictions that prohibited plans to combine professional offices with a care facility in the former hospital.

Wagner said the revised approach – rezoning the property as a PUD – cleared the way for progress on the first phase and clarified the parameters needed to continue with the rest of the project.

(James Mitchell can be reached at james.a.mitchell37@gmail.com.)