Metro Seeking Village Tenants

August 29, 2003
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WYOMING — In completing one process and beginning another with the recent groundbreaking for a new $150 million suburban hospital, Metropolitan Health Corp. seeks to "redefine" health care in Grand Rapids, leaders say.

Part of a "health care village" envisioned for southern Wyoming, the new hospital will anchor a major medical complex that Metro Health executives hope to see evolve on the 170-acre site at Byron Center Avenue and Gezon Parkway, just south of the new M-6 freeway.

"As you know, Metro's goal is to build a village unlike any other, a development that we hope will redefine the experience of receiving health care in this community," Metro Health President and CEO Mike Faas said in presiding over the Aug. 22 ceremonial groundbreaking for the Metro Health Village.

Metro Health wants the village to become a "much admired model" for health care delivery, Faas said.

"We hope to redefine the experience of receiving health care. Redefine it in a way that matches great quality with more convenience and simplicity. Redefine it in a way that matches great attitudes and compassion with a great setting and leading edge technology," he said. "We want to deliver the kind of quality health care that America has been asking for: safe, convenient, affordable, personal and accessible."

The development has been in the planning stages for years and comes after the health system, with the help of considerable political backing, went through a contentious process during 2001 and 2002 to secure changes in state rules to allow Metropolitan Hospital to relocate 10 miles away, from its current campus on Grand Rapids' southeast side, to the site along the Wyoming-Byron Township line.

Metro and its supporters envision the health care village becoming a major medical destination for patients that offers numerous complementary medical services surrounding the new eight-story, 200-bed hospital that's scheduled to open in the summer of 2006. Fitness and special medical centers, medical equipment businesses, a day care and other amenities are envisioned for the entire development, designed to provide greater access and convenience for patients and consumers and increased collaboration between care providers in a rapidly growing area of Kent County.

"Years from now I believe the Metro Health Village that we launch here today will be seen as one of the most important milestones in health care for this region," said Doyle Hayes, chairman of the Metro Health board of directors.

The hospital will occupy 50 of the 170 acres. Acreage along Gezon Parkway, bordering the northern edge of the site, will go for retail, office and commercial development. Among the possibilities mentioned are hotels, restaurants, florists, book stores, coffee shops and other retail and service providers.

Metro has yet to sign any partners or secure commitments for the health care village beyond medical office space planned for its own medical staff, although it has received a "lot of interest," Faas said. With the groundbreaking out of the way, recruiting complementary health care service providers to become part of the village will begin taking on a higher priority, he said.

"We're now going to kick off a lot of the village concepts," Faas said.     

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