Metro Hospital Proposal1 Billion

March 21, 2003
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WYOMING — Future development connected to Metropolitan Health Corp’s. new hospital and health care village planned in southern Wyoming could  reach up to $1 billion, as commercial and health-related ventures tie into the project.

Metro executives foresee retail stores and professional offices joining a slew of health-related services to become part of the broader project envisioned for a 170-acre site along Gezon Parkway and Byron Center Avenue. The site sits along the Wyoming-Byron Township line and is adjacent to the M-6 freeway that will open next year and make the rapidly growing area even more attractive to development.

“It’s just a prime location,” said Gary Granger, president and CEO of The Granger Group, which Metro retained last year to handle the spin-off development.

“We see some real significant things going down there,” Granger said. “We think the market is very supportive.”

Granger conservatively estimates the potential for the complete development to total $600 million to $700 million, including a new $150 million hospital featuring an eight-story, 208-bed patient tower surrounded by smaller outpatient and ancillary buildings. More than half of the total could come in the way of non-health-related commercial developments, he said.

The build-out total of up to $1 billion that Metro executives cited in unveiling plans last week for what’s been tagged the “Metro Health Village” seems “a little high,” although it’s not out of the question, Granger said.

The Granger Group has already received numerous inquiries from parties interested in becoming part of the project, which could end up as one of the largest developments in the region in recent memory if the estimates of Metro executives hold true.

“We’re getting our phones rung off the hook,” Granger said. “Everybody sees this as possibly the best site in greater Grand Rapids for this type of development. They just see a tremendous opportunity with everything going on around it.”

Plans call for the new hospital to anchor the health village and surrounding development.

Metro hopes to break ground this August, begin construction in earnest in early 2004, and occupy the new hospital in August 2006, President and CEO Mike Faas said.

To fully realize the vision of creating a health care village that provides a wide realm of medical and health services, Metro has reached out to numerous care providers to join the project. Metro envisions the campus filling up with complementary offerings such as medical offices, a wellness/fitness center, a pharmacy, a home medical equipment supplier, a nursing home, a daycare and disease clinics.

Development around the periphery of the site could include a hotel, retail stores, restaurants and professional offices.

The site can become a one-stop setting for a myriad of health care needs and beyond, Faas said.

“It will be a destination that people will want to go to,” he said.

To bring the dream to reality, Metro Health needs to partner with other care providers to provide the complementary services and private developers to take on the other aspects, Faas said. He cited eight to 10 solid health care-related prospects, all local, that he believes will sign on “almost immediately” to the Metro Health Village once zoning approval is secured from the City of Wyoming next month.

“We cannot afford to develop this entire site for ourselves,” Faas said. “It’s very inclusive and we’re going to have a lot of partners.

“That’s the way this will be developed and reach the scale of what it will ultimately be,” he said.

In the design schemes for the development, architects envision creating a “village atmosphere” with common architectural themes for all buildings and a village green in the middle of the property.

Anchoring it all is a new, highly efficient hospital built to accommodate the latest medical technology and clinical practices and trends well into the future.

“This is an organization that’s going to look very different,” Faas said. “It’s a hospital for 2050, not 2000.”

Metro, citing an inability to expand at its existing site on Grand Rapids’ southeast side to accommodate burgeoning patient volumes, first publicly rolled out its idea for a new hospital campus and village more than two years ago. The health system secured approval from the state late last year to relocate more than seven miles to a new campus.

“It’s been a long time in the coming,” Faas said.

Metro will finance the new hospital with $50 million in its own funds and $100 million raised via a public or private bond sale, Faas said.               

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