Metro Health Eyes Mid Towne For Surgical Center

August 15, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — Metro Health is planning to join the eastern end of Michigan Street’s “Medical Mile” with an outpatient surgical center in Mid Towne Village’s Women’s Health Center of West Michigan.

Metro Health is proposing to lease 17,201 square feet on the second floor at 555 Mid Towne St. NE for a freestanding surgical facility with three operating rooms, according to a letter of intent filed with the Michigan Department of Community Health. The project requires MDCH certificate of need approval.

The project would require a $10.45 million investment, including $3.9 million for surgical equipment, $5.67 million for a lease, $865,000 for utilities and maintenance, and $5,500 in fees, according to the letter of intent.

The proposal replaces a plan to build a surgical center on East Beltline Avenue NE.

“It’s less expensive for us, because it’s an existing building,” Metro Health Communications Manager Ellen Bristol said. “The second thing is timeliness. All we have to do is remodel, so occupancy is close to a year earlier. It’s a beautiful, patient-friendly facility.”

Bristol said the facility could open as early as spring 2009.

She said that despite the building being marketed as the Women’s Health Center of West Michigan, the new surgical services would be available to men and women.

That represents a detour from the original Women’s Health Center concept.

“That was our dream at the beginning and, in much part, we’re still doing that, but some of the building will be servicing men and women, the surgical center being one of them,” said Michael Garrett, developer of the Mid Towne Village project and president of Pinnacle Ventures and Pinnacle Construction.

“I think this opportunity came along with the surgical center, and the benefit far outweighs having to go to a co-ed approach on that floor. We weighed the alternatives and found that was the best solution. In time, we could have filled it with any number of types of practices.”

Garrett said the surgical center would be a joint venture between Metro Health and surgeons and would carry the name Mid Towne Surgical Center rather than the Metro Health brand.

“They want it to be more generic for use by all types of physicians,” Garrett said. “I think that the surgical center will only enhance the women’s services that are done there. It’s really going to complement the Women’s Health Center.”

Several years ago, Metro Health considered Comstock Park for a freestanding surgical center, then last year looked at two locations near East Beltline Avenue and Four Mile Road.

Garrett said doctors balked when Metro Health filed a letter of intent in 2007 to locate a surgical center on East Beltline Avenue north of Four Mile Road NE, on land optioned from the owner of Robinette’s Apple Haus. While they liked the idea of a location in the northeast — kitty-corner across the county from Metro Health Hospital’s new facility in the southwestern suburb of Wyoming — they thought the site was inconvenient, Garrett said. The Mid Towne development is still in the northeast quadrant but is close to Interstate 196.

“Our primary goal was to have the hospital on the southwest side and something else on the northeast,” Bristol added. “It’s not as far northeast as the other site would have been, but it’s still on the northeast side in a pretty easy-access place.”

Garrett said he stills holds an option on the Robinette land, but is uncertain about its development.

In fiscal 2008, 72 percent of Metro Health’s 12,600 surgeries were done on an outpatient basis, Bristol said. The hospital has nine operating rooms. Metro Health moved to its Wyoming location in September after 50 years on Boston Street SE in Grand Rapids.

Garrett said the 110,000-square-foot, $25 million medical building opened last month with its first and largest tenant, Grand Rapids Women’s Health, one of the largest obstetrics and gynecology practices in the area. Grand Rapids Women’s Health was created this year by the merger of three smaller practices. The practice occupies the entire fourth floor and includes two surgical procedure rooms.

Garrett said the third floor is being occupied by Spectrum Obstetrics, and the first floor will contain a mix of clinical and retail services. Tenants include: Grand Rapids Fertility & In-Vitro Fertilization; Plastic Surgery Associates; Premier Skin Care; Physiotherapy Associates; Keystone Pharmacy; Spectrum Obstetrics; Esthete Medical Spa – Skin Care & Beauty Institute; Spectrum Blood Draw Services; Spectrum Mammography; Pelvic Floor Institute; Baby Beloved – Lactation Services/Retail; and Psychology Associates.

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