Saint Marys Unveils New Campus Design

December 22, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Saint Mary's Health Care plans to redesign and expand its campus, green up its grounds and add some retail and physician office space on site over the next five years.

Debbie Stiemann, Saint Mary's vice president of strategic development, presented the master campus plan to the City Commission on Tuesday. Stiemann said 182,000 square feet of medical office and retail space will be constructed on the former Eerdman Publishing Co. property on

Jefferson Avenue
as part of a joint venture between Saint Mary's, local physician groups and small businesses.

The project will bring to Saint Mary's campus something it has had very little of: green space. The 26-acre campus will feature 1.6 acres of green space spread over four areas: the

State Street
Jefferson Street
gateway area, the
Cherry Street
plaza, the
Maple Street
promenade and the campus's GrandPlaza, which will feature 40,300 square feet of the campus's total 73,000 square feet of green space. The green space and buildings will be tied together with a pedestrian-friendly network of tree-lined walkways. Stiemann said all new buildings will be limited to stories, with the exception of the HauensteinCenter and the LacksCancerCenter, both of which are five stories.

Plans also call for mixed-use housing, which will likely be situated both on the campus and on its fringes, said Saint Mary spokeswoman Micki Benz. She said Saint Mary's has had a lot of calls from parties interested in developing the residential portion of the project, which could include a combination of condos, apartments and single family homes. Benz said that part of the project is further down the road and the details haven't been completely fleshed out yet. Whatever the housing combination, the design of the residential units will be fitting to an urban neighborhood, she noted.

Hospital officials began working earlier this year with the city, Progressive AE, the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids, neighboring organizations and residents to come up with a "community campus" concept, Stiemann said. They started the visioning process by asking: What should this area of the city look like? The resulting vision was to create "an innovative, safe and connected" mixed-use campus with a neighborhood feel to it. The guiding design principles were to integrate and expand green space; create a pedestrian-oriented community; create an identifiable image for the community; create a collaborative neighborhood design for safe and secure surroundings; provide opportunities for small businesses; and provide mixed-use housing.

The HauensteinCenter, which is under construction on

Cherry Street
between Lafayette and Jefferson avenues, was not the catalyst for the campus redesign, Benz said. The catalyst was simply the need to integrate the projects presently underway, including the HauensteinCenter, a new parking deck with a heliport, and the expansion of various clinical services.

The project is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $60 million, and it's being financed not only by Saint Mary's but through joint ventures and business partnerships, Benz noted. She said the hospital has all the property it needs to carry the project forward, so no land purchases have to be made.    

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