New medical office building will be catalyst
Community Hospital and its majority partners behind the Canyon View Medical Plaza broke ground on Dec. 12 on an ambitious project they hope will be the catalyst to change the northwest section of Grand Junction. The two-story medical office building is the first phase of a medical campus at 2373 G Raod that will eventually include a new hospital, which has owned the 40-acre parcel for more than seven years, but before a single shovel hit the ground, the staff did a little soul-searching.
“We did our due diligence,” said Community Hospital President and CEO Chris Thomas.
The land is near several major roadways bisecting the Grand Valley, making it easy for patients coming from any direction. It’s also in an enterprise zone, which offers specific tax credits for businesses and donors. Although the hospital sold 6.1 acres to the partnership in order to build the medical office building, there is plenty of room to build the new hospital and still have land left over for future development.
In its current location on North 12th Street, the hospital had nowhere to expand. When it sold its property to Colorado Mesa University (then, Mesa State College), it represented a win-win situation for both the university and the hospital. The school was able to acquire eight acres in one transaction while the hospital was able to find a buyer that could utilize some of its unique amenities and also negotiate a timeline that would enable it to move forward in phases.
“One of our strategies is to partner with physicians,” Thomas said.
Community Hospital is a minor partner in Canyon View Medical Plaza, owning 10 percent of the new facility, while local medical groups Pelvic Health & Wellness Center, Surgical Associates of Western Colorado, Urological Associates of Western Colorado, Mesa Women’s Health Care and Western Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will own 40 percent. Development Solutions Group, a Front Range developer that specializes in medical office buildings, will be a 50 percent owner, holding the land and the building itself. The partnership represents the new reality of making decisions that are in the best interests of patients and complying with new healthcare laws, while also being cognizant of the continually rising cost of healthcare.
An outpatient surgery center will be part of the 86,000-square feet Canyon View Medical Plaza. After the new surgical center opens, Community Hospital will no longer operate First Choice Outpatient Surgery Center at First and Patterson as a surgery center, but will continue to offer outpatient services and therapy at the facility. The surgical center will be a joint venture between Community Hospital and local physicians. Community Hospital will also offer urgent care, outpatient imaging and will open a retail pharmacy in the medical office building.
Because the hospital hopes to begin construction on a new hospital building within 12 to 18 months after completion of the medical office building, it is using the same architect to design both buildings. G.H. Phipps, a Front Range general contractor chosen by majority owner Development Solutions Group, will build Canyon View Medical Plaza. Community Hospital has already selected Shaw Construction to build the new hospital.
“Our board thought it was very important to select a local contractor,” Thomas said.
The new hospital will be connected via a walkway to the medical office building and will reflect the most recent medical advances and trends. Planners are putting considerable thought into what healthcare will look like in the future. With new healthcare laws going into effect, Thomas indicated that volumes in the emergency department could be rising.
“We want to design an emergency department that will handle the influx,” he said.
While more patients may be visiting the emergency room or the urgent care facility, hospital stays will be shorter and sometimes even non-existent for many procedures.
“Our focus for the new hospital is out-patient services,” Thomas said. When patients do have to stay overnight, all of the rooms in the new hospital will be private, although the number of beds will stay the same, at least in the beginning.
“We could go to 108 beds without a significant change to the building,” Thomas said.
G.H. Phipps has indicated that they will use as many local subcontractors as possible on the Canyon View Medical Plaza, which is a $21 million construction project. The medical office building will be roughly 86,000 square feet and should be completed by December 2013 or January 2014.
“We’re excited about the construction,” Thomas said. “There’s a whole bunch of jobs.”
Estimates for the new hospital, with construction not starting until at least 2015, are projected to be $42 million.
Although the development along G Road west of 24 Road has been slow, once the medical office building and the hospital are operating, restaurants, coffee shops and other urban amenities will most likely follow, as entrepreneurial souls recognize the potential of hundreds of workers and nowhere to get a quick cup of coffee or a bite to eat.