The city is considering leasing the second floor of the Paterson Health Department to the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey, a group that provides healthcare and other services to women and children, for $24,000 per year, according to an agreement before the City Council.
Under the agreement, the nonprofit will lease 3,906 square feet of space at 176 Broadway for $2,000 per month for a two-year period. This translates to $6 per square foot. The group is leasing a piece space that was cleared for a mental health clinic, but has remained vacant for some time, according to health director Donna Nelson-Ivy.
“We need to do something with that space. It’s vacant. I cleaned it up in preparation for the mental health program,” said Nelson-Ivy to the council. “What we have now is an opportunity to bring in the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health to that site. This will be a revenue generator.”
The council has raised questions about per square foot cost in previous lease agreements it approved. Most recently, some council members thought $18 per square foot for the former Municipal Utilities Authority building’s second was too little. $18 per square foot is the market rate for high end office space in Paterson.
Councilman Andre Sayegh, chairman of the health committee, thought the $6 per square foot rate was low on Thursday morning.
Nelson-Ivy did not respond to call for comment for this story.
Carolyn DeBoer, director of grantsmanship and planning, at the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey, said the group has been operating in Paterson since 1992. She said the organization is presently operating from Ottilio Terrace on the border of Paterson and Totowa. She said the organization has seven sites throughout New Jersey to provide services like home visits for young families, postpartum depression resources to mothers, lead poisoning prevention information, and other resources.
The nonprofit also has a program that seeks to reduce disparities in infant mortality by minimizing barriers to prenatal care for women who may be disenfranchised from the traditional healthcare system through door-to-door canvasing, according to the group’s website.
Nelson-Ivy said the services the organization offers fit in with the mission of her office.
The group’s lease is running out by middle of this year at the Ottilio Terrace location, said James Stotz, chief financial officer for the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey.
Both the director and the group hope to get the lease agreement passed through the council before the middle of this year.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Nelson-Ivy.
Nelson-Ivy last year attempted to use the space to run a mental health clinic. Her proposal was shot down by the city council. Council members argued the mental health clinic would have attracted a variety of people including those who suffer from violent outbursts that would have placed residents and staff at the building in danger.
The director told council members at the time her staff ostensibly supported the mental health clinic. There were also questions about credentials of the group that was going to operate the clinic out of the location that further helped to kill Nelson-Ivy’s $3.74 million mental health clinic proposal.
Council members will take an initial vote on the ordinance leasing the space that was formerly a laboratory on Tuesday night.
The lease agreement runs from May 1st, 2017 through June 30th, 2019, according to the ordinance.