One local developer is offering an unused medical facility on Manitou Road in Gates for free if the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
William Huntress of Acquest Development had purchased this 800,000 square foot facility about a year ago. The original plan was to have the building be used for scientific purposes such as research and manufacturing, but as COVID-19 spreads, his priorities changed.
"My first thought was if New York state needed more hospital beds, it would be a great place to provide that," said Huntress.
Huntress believes the labs in the facility could prove useful.
"There's 205 of these. They can easily be made into hospital rooms with all of the power they maintain or used in some form of manufacturing say UV equipment, ventilators. Pharmaceuticals could use a room like this," he explained.
This offer comes up as Governor Andrew Cuomo says every hospital in the state needs to double the number of available beds.
"The number of beds in a room is highly regulated. We're waving all of those regulations and saying just from a physical capacity point of view, see if you can increase your capacity by 100 percent. Where did we get 100 percent? We have 53,000 beds. We have to get to 110,000. Everybody increases by 100 percent. We met the goal." said Gov. Cuomo.
Huntress says he plans to reach out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New York. So far he's also called the CDC and other organizations that could possibly come up with a cure.
"I think with the proper consultants, be it both medical and engineering consultants. You could probably get this place up and running within a couple of weeks," said Huntress.
Huntress adds the facility can also be used as a place to provide hot meals.