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HOPEWELL TWP, NJ-It’s been several years in the making, but a major hospital project is finally under construction by the Trenton-based Capital Health System. At a cost of about $1 billion, Capital Health will replace an existing medical center and complete major renovations of another one.

The centerpiece of the project is a new 223-bed hospital and medical office building on a 165-acre parcel, slated to replace the aging Mercer Medical Center in Trenton. The site is along Scotch Rd. between an I-95 interchange and a Merrill Lynch office complex. Part two of the project entails a major revamp of Capital Health’s Fuld Hospital in Trenton.

“Capital Health isn’t building the Hopewell hospital alone,” says Al Maghazehe, president and CEO of the company. “It is, in fact, the culmination of years of planning and efforts from people both within our organization and throughout the many different partnerships we’ve made in the community. We’ve taken unprecedented actions to reach out to local businesses to help them learn about the opportunities available to them on this project.”

And the project is getting done with the help of HUD, which is insuring a $777-million loan coming through the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 242 Hospital Mortgage Insurance Program. According to information released by HUD officials, the insurance has enabled Capital Health to pick up lower-cost financing that will save an estimated $487 million in interest payments throughout the life of the loan.

“By lowering the cost of credit for Capital Health, FHA will allow the company to use more of its resources to do what it does best, which is making people healthier,” says HUD assistant secretary Brian Montgomery. “This is the largest hospital project ever endorsed by HUD.”

The new hospital will include Capital Health’s Regional Cancer Center and Institute of Neurosciences, including the only CyberKnife Center in Center New Jersey. Also part of the project are a community perinatal center, cardiology services, adult emergency services, intensive care and other medical and diagnostic services. Officials expect to have the facility up and running in 2011.

The makeover of Fuld Hospital, meanwhile, will include construction of two new medical-surgical units aimed at providing space to accommodate services that will be shifting over from Mercer Medical Center. Overall, the two-part project is expected to create nearly 4,800 full-time jobs. Generate $1.7 billion of economic stimulus during construction and provide an annual economic benefit to the region of more than $400 million.

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