Hackensack Meridian Health Breaks Ground On First In the Nation Health & Wellness Center At A Transit Hub, Bringing Comprehensive, Convenient and Easily Accessible Healthcare To New Jersey Transit’s Metropark Station   

Hackensack Meridian Health Breaks Ground On First In the Nation Health & Wellness Center At A Transit Hub, Bringing Comprehensive, Convenient and Easily Accessible Healthcare To New Jersey Transit’s Metropark Station

March 08, 2024

Group with Shovels

  • First health and wellness center nationwide to be located in major travel hub, bringing access to comprehensive ambulatory care to riders and nearby residents in a convenient way
  • The $200 million project is expected to create at least 1,000 jobs for the region

Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH), New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network, is breaking ground on a first of its kind health care facility at a mass transit hub. The groundbreaking today at Metropark Station in Woodbridge, New Jersey, will provide convenient access to comprehensive care to thousands of New Jersey, New York and Northeast residents each day. 

“Once again, New Jersey is pioneering a new model for supporting our families and communities as we break ground on the first ever comprehensive health care facility located at a major transit hub,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This new Hackensack Meridian Health facility marks a major milestone both for the larger redevelopment of Metropark Station as well as in realizing our Administration’s broader vision for the future of transportation and community health. I am pleased to join Hackensack Meridian Health today and applaud their continued work to provide vital health care to the people of New Jersey.”

The facility is part of a larger development of Metropark Station by DOR, a consortium led by  Russo Development, that was awarded a $110 million tax credit grant. The impetus for the development came from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s push to modernize transportation hubs throughout the state, making them multi-use locations for residential, office space, retail and restaurants, allowing people to live, work and play in one location.

When it opens next year, the Hackensack Meridian Health and Wellness Center will offer more than 60,000 square feet of healthcare services just steps from the mass transit hub. Services will include primary care, medical specialties, surgical specialties, a sports and spine center of excellence, advanced imaging, phlebotomy, rehabilitation services, a retail pharmacy, occupational health services and an urgent care. 

“Hackensack Meridian Health is committed to expanding access to quality healthcare, meeting patients where they are,” said Robert C. Garrett, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “60,000 people travel through Metropark Station each month as a hub for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak, soon these passengers will have access to quality care steps from their commute. The expanded, easy access is one of the major ways Hackensack Meridian Health is revolutionizing healthcare.”

The complex qualifies for the multi-use platform under the  New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s ASPIRE program, which supports transformative development projects that incorporate community benefits such as those featured in this development: connecting people to healthcare more efficiently; stimulating mass transit use; and providing at least 20% low income housing.

“Convenient access to a wide array of medical services at a mass transit hub complements Hackensack Meridian Health’s efforts to address how social determinants of health are impacting health equity,” Garrett said. “This location will bring Hackensack Meridian’s best in class doctors and care to a location accessible to all, including those whose primary form of transportation is mass transit.” 

A model like this is important in suburban areas, where currently most healthcare is primarily only accessible by car. As the first health system to provide comprehensive outpatient services directly at a transit hub, Hackensack Meridian is establishing a new model of care for other health systems to emulate, increasing access and addressing social determinants of health.

"The Aspire Program focuses on supporting Governor Murphy's vision to expand transit-oriented development and revitalize communities across the state," said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. "This Aspire award will support the 'Metropark at Woodbridge' development, which will include Hackensack Meridian Health's world class health care facility that will lead to new jobs, spurred economic activity, and greater access to health care services for local residents."

Following the completion of the HMH Metropark building, a residential building will be constructed with retail on the lower level and approximately 230 residential units. With the residential growth in the immediate area surrounding Metropark and the surrounding communities, there will be a greater need for accessible health care that the Hackensack Meridian Health and Wellness Center will be able to accommodate.

The Health and Wellness Center addresses a growing need for world class quality care in Woodbridge, Middlesex County and surrounding areas of New Jersey that use the Metropark Station. It will also offer convenient medical care for those traveling the entire North East including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington D.C., along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

“We are proud to join Hackensack Meridian Health to celebrate the commencement of construction of their new healthcare facility. This facility is part of a broader Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) project anchored by Metropark Station – one of the busiest rail stations in our system,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “In addition to providing unparalleled access to a wide spectrum of health services, this project is a perfect example of our broader TOD strategy in both generating additional non-farebox revenues as well as driving sustainable growth through enhanced public transportation access throughout New Jersey.”

“Woodbridge has been an incredible collaborator on our past projects, and it along with NJ Transit created the opportunity for a creative redevelopment at Metropark,” said Ed Russo, president of Russo Development. “But the true turning point came when Hackensack Meridian expressed an interest in the site – they transformed it from an ambitious project to a historic one. We are excited to be a small part of this amazing project.”

The Health & Wellness Center at Metropark expands on Hackensack Meridian Health’s broader effort to better serve patients, by bringing together key network physicians and ambulatory services under one roof in easily accessible neighborhoods.  In the last several years, Hackensack Meridian Health has opened outpatient care center locations across the state including in  Eatontown, Clark and Paramus. 

Hackensack Meridian Health is investing significantly in the  $200 million project, adding to other major recent investments by the network in expanding healthcare access. The project is estimated to bring 1,000 jobs to the Woodbridge area, both short term and long term, not including the new jobs indirectly created as a result of consolidation and growth of our ambulatory assets in the region.

“Hackensack Meridian Health is making a major investment in Woodbridge Township,” said Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac.  “In doing so, it is bringing hundreds of high paying jobs to our economy while delivering a shot in the arm to the MetroPark train station and improving our local traffic flow throughout the area.”

“By turning Metropark Station into a modern hub for transit, residence, retail, and business, we are creating an economic driver for Woodbridge, Middlesex County and the state,” said New Jersey State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “By including Hackensack Meridian’s Health and Wellness Center at the transit hub, residents will be able to receive comprehensive healthcare, creating an example of accessibility others across the country will follow. On a personal level, my constituents will benefit with access to world-class healthcare professionals and facilities and the project gives the Metropark office park community a well-timed jolt.”

“We are modernizing and reimagining our infrastructure in every corner in this County,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios. “My colleagues and I on the Board of County Commissioners know that these upgrades will not only enhance accessibility of healthcare for everyone, but also enable our regional economy to grow and thrive. This is yet another example of how our County, with its partners, continues to innovate to meet the current and future needs of our community.”

Hackensack Meridian Health will also consolidate its corporate offices, currently in Edison, within the new Metropark facility. With sustainability being a top priority at HMH, the company is ensuring the building is constructed in a way that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but will also qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

“Metropark offers Hackensack Meridian Health the amazing opportunity to expand access to quality care by meeting patients in a convenient location they pass through daily,” said Jose Lozano, executive vice president and chief growth officer for Hackensack Meridian Health. “It also allows HMH to offer an energetic, sustainable and accessible workspace for our team members in a great location, complete with mass transit, retail and health care, allowing HMH to continue to attract top talent from across the Northeast. We are thrilled to partner with JLL and DOR on this innovative project.” 

“From the outset, the DOR team and the Hackensack Meridian Health team recognized the tremendous opportunity to create a new future for the Metropark Station,” said Dan Loughlin, vice chairman of Jones Lang Lasalle. “This might have been New Jersey’s most complex recent development, but it will also be the most rewarding.”

The Hackensack Meridian Health and Wellness Center at Metropark is scheduled to open in 2025.

Additional renderings of the Hackensack Meridian Health and Wellness Center at Metropark are available here.

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