Dr. Craig B. Thompson, CEO and president of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, welcomed a crowd at the opening of the organization’s new facility in Middletown. — Courtesy: NJ Office of Information Technology
By Joshua Burd
The rebirth of a once-vacant Lucent Technologies building in Middletown is all but complete, as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center prepares to open a new state-of-the-art treatment facility at the former office property.
MSK on Monday cut the ribbon on its new 120,000-square-foot center at 480 Red Hill Road, where it plans to accept its first patients on Dec. 12. The new freestanding facility, the organization’s second outpatient treatment site in the state, follows a more than $200 million retrofit of the building into the clinical program space and an adjoining 50,000-square-foot data center.
The cancer care provider acquired the 40-acre property in 2013 for $14 million. But the 285,000-square-foot building had already been vacant for a decade by that time, following Alcatel’s acquisition of Lucent and the subsequent closure of what became excess property.
MSK’s acquisition came as part of an expansion beyond its New York roots.
“The opening of MSK Monmouth reinforces our longstanding commitment to the residents of New Jersey,” Dr. Craig B. Thompson, CEO and president of MSK, said in a prepared statement Monday. “We are deeply moved and appreciative of the welcome we have received from the county, Middletown Township officials, and the surrounding communities, and we look forward to welcoming patients very soon.”
Known as MSK Monmouth, the facility includes imaging tests such as PET, CT, MRI and ultrasound, along with state-of-the-art radiation tools, advanced pathology testing and immunotherapy, according to a news release. It is also the first to offer MSK’s outpatient surgical procedures outside of its home base in Manhattan.
Executives with the provider and public officials touted those offerings during Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site, which is just off the Garden State Parkway. The opening of the facility will reduce the travel time for many Monmouth County area patients seeking treatment, while giving them access to cutting-edge clinical trials.
MSK also operates a treatment center in Basking Ridge, which it opened in 2006, and is now planning a third New Jersey facility in Montvale.
The provider completed the Middletown project with the help of a $7.9 million Grow New Jersey tax credit from the state Economic Development Authority. As a result, MSK was able to relocate more than 100 staffers from facilities in Lyndhurst and Manhattan, while supporting additional job growth at the new site as the data hub continues to expand into 2017.
A report by the Asbury Park Press said MSK’s renovation has left about 100,000 square feet for future expansion, a possibility that speakers alluded to during Monday’s event.
MSK Monmouth’s anticipated Dec. 12 is pending final approval from the state Department of Health.