In a step that should make it cheaper to borrow money to build a new hospital in East Norriton, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is insuring a $292.5 million loan for the facility.

The new, 146-bed hospital is a joint project of Albert Einstein Healthcare Network and Montgomery Hospital Medical Center.

"They are providing for us a loan guarantee that enhances our credit worthiness in the bond market," said Richard Montalbano, an Einstein executive vice president and project executive.

The government estimated that the FHA insurance will reduce interest expense by $74 million over the life of the loan. Montalbano said construction of the hospital, which will be located four miles west of Plymouth Meeting Mall on Germantown Pike, could begin in early summer.    - Stacey Burling