A project, six years in the making, will move forward this spring as the Veterans Administration Healthcare System begins construction on a new, 45,000 square foot outpatient medical annex on Edison Road. The 8.25-acre property, zoned for light industrial use, LLC, sold for $3.09 million dollars to Orange VA, LLC, a national developer, according to a press release from the Southport-based realty firm, Angel Commercial. The estimated lease cost is $2.5 million per year.
First Selectman Jim Zeoli, who had alluded to the VA’s plans during his campaign speeches without mentioning the specifics of the project is thrilled the project came to fruition. “It provides vital services for our veterans and it’s a good fit for our region,” he said. While veterans’ needs are at the forefront, Zeoli is also pleased it will bring new tax dollars to town. “We’ve been working on these things for a long time trying to bring them forward—the only way to increase the Grand List is with new bricks and mortar. There is a lot of activity ahead for the town of Orange and it’s going in a really positive direction.” It’s also the type of use Zeoli envisioned when the town built Edison Road to tie into Marsh Hill and Prindle Hill Roads.
The annex will be the new home for many of the services currently provided to approximately 2,300 veteran at the Errera Community Care Center on the Boston Post Road in West Haven, including Primary Care; Mental Health Case and Intensive Case Management; Team Vocational Services; Psychosocial Recovery Rehabilitation Center (PRRC); Health Wellness Program; Health Psychology and Dietetics; Computer Lab; Outpatient Addiction Recovery Services; Substance Abuse Day Program (21 day outpatient); Peer Support Services and more. It will also house national VA programs like the National Center for PTSD Clinical Neurosciences Administration Division; Pain, Research, Informatics, Medical Co-morbidities and Education (PRIME); National Tele Medical Health Center Decision Support Service; HIV, Hepatitis and Public Health. The current plan calls for the Homeless Services to remain in newly renovated space at the VA’s West Haven location.
Construction is scheduled to begin in May with an estimated completion date of fall, 2019. The property is one of four lots in a 23.35 acre parcel located on Indian River and Edison Roads for sale. An application to build an assisted living and memory care facility, on another 7.5 parcel in the same tract, is currently pending zoning approval. That project, submitted by Senior Living Advisors, LLC, and property owner, Indian River Road LLC, seeks to amend the Orange Zoning Regulations to add a definition for “Dwelling Unit, Senior Independent Living,” and to amend the Orange Zoning map and to changes the seven-acre property known as 231 Indian River Road-Lot 2 from Light Industrial (LI-2) to Senior Mixed Use District.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent