A new comprehensive nursing and rehabilitation center will soon take the place of Bayhealth Milford Memorial Hospital as the State has officially approved an application to move the project forward.

The Delaware Health Resources Board determined there is a real need for the facility and approved the Nationwide Health Care Services’ Certificate of Public Review application, clearing the way for them to operate a 150-bed facility in Milford.

Nationwide is acquiring the 22-acre site and surrounding buildings from Bayhealth, which is moving to a new campus within the next year.

The Milford location will be developed as a wellness village, coordinating a mix of services from like-minded organizations who share Nationwide’s desire to improve the health and well-being of area residents of all ages and income levels.

“We’re excited that we have been approved to be able to build a long term care skilled care nursing home, which will be the anchor of the complex. The rest of the complex will be rented out to various post acute services not excluding senior independent living, primary care, chronic disease management, a lot of education and training, adult daycare, child services that are very much needed in the area, medical equipment supplies. We hope to get approved to have in the core of the building a restaurant and cafe for those who are using the building to be able to come, sit down, relax and meet,” Gelley explained.

“We hope we will be able to have some space there for a pharmacy. So, all in all the idea is to re-purpose the hospital right now so it shouldn’t become like the Milford school that closed down and was left empty and left to rot and became a dinosaur in the middle of the town.”

Closing on the property sale from Bayhealth to Nationwide is scheduled for January, 2019 with construction beginning immediately after.

“By the time we break ground early next year, we anticipate having our key tenants signed up and ready to go,” Gelley said. “We could not be more excited.”

Nationwide operates two other nursing centers in Delaware as well as four more in Pennsylvania.