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Shore View Rehabilitation & Health Care Center in New York City has bounced back from disaster.
Shore View Rehabilitation & Health Care Center in New York City has bounced back from disaster.

Care Center in New York City recently celebrated its re-opening, nearly eight months after “Super Storm” Sandy crippled the building. 

Visitors to the renovated Shore View can grab a coffee from the café in the new 10th-floor solarium and head up to the roof patio, which now features paving stones and benches. The 360-degree view may be the most impressive feature of the updated facility. But to understand the renovation, the place to start is the building's basement.

“Every cubic foot of the basement was full of water,” says Michael Schrieber, Shore View's chief strategy officer and one of the owners of the privately operated, 320-bed facility. He estimates the basement is 10,500 square feet.

The flooding knocked out nearly all the building's systems, adds Alex Josowitz, who was project manager for the renovation and has since become Shore View's administrator. The boiler, all the electric systems, the fire panel, laundry, central supply, cooler and the bottom of the elevator system were all affected. 

“I had to gut the basement and secure it from asbestos and mold, from lockers to the last bit of crumb on the ceiling,” Josowitz says. 

Josowitz also made the building a model of flood-proofing, raising retaining walls and ventilating shafts, putting the generator on a raised platform outside the building, dry- and wet-proofing machinery left in place, and putting in a louvered steel door to protect mechanical equipment from water. New water pumps will work even if the control panel is underwater.

While the storm forced the intense and costly restoration project, Schrieber seized the moment. Residents were temporarily relocated after the storm, so a full renovation could be done on an expedited timeline.

The goal: Transform Shore View's traditional nursing home feel to a more upscale, homelike environment. This was accomplished by using high-end materials, such as Antico tile, and brightening the color palette. Contemporary elements such as LED lighting complement vintage touches, including glass chandeliers in the lobby. A whole floor is now dedicated to rehab, and an inviting therapy gym has improved residents' motivation.

Shore View can't disclose how much the renovation cost, due to an ongoing legal issue with an insurance provider. While Schrieber says he's confident the facility has the needed coverage, he advises reading the fine print on all policies. 

Shore View's story also demonstrates that disaster planning should include thinking about communication and partnerships with utility companies and emergency services. For example, ConEd electrified the basement while it was still flooded, creating a huge hazard, Schrieber says. The fire department was more immediately helpful, sending a truck over for 48 hours to start pumping water out of the basement.     

Shore View residents are impressed with the “grandeur” of the redesign, Schrieber says. And after the upheaval of Sandy, the “brand new everything” is just icing on the cake.

Lessons Learned

Consider more wide-ranging improvements when repairing storm damage.

Disaster prep should include closely reading insurance policies and planning to communicate with utilities and emergency services.

Mix vintage and contemporary fixtures for an upscale but homey atmosphere.


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