County forges ahead with medical campus
SUMMIT COUNTY – The county is forging ahead with its plan to take over development of a potentially $12 million, 85,000-square-foot medical office building and community care clinic adjacent to the new hospital near Frisco.The county’s new plans for the building include a doubling in size from the original design. The structure was originally intended to be 45,000 square feet with two stories for the medical office building and one for the Summit Community Care Clinic. The county is now planning to develop a three story, 85,000-square-foot building that will be shared by several entities.The county said it came up with the new plan because of the doctors’ delay in selling their Summit Vista Professional Building in Frisco. The money from the doctors’ sale was originally intended to pay for the medical office building, which will now initially be funded by the county. The county plans to sell units in the medical office building in order to recoup the funds it invests to build the structure’s shell.The doctors recently sold the Summit Vista Professional Building to Wise, Inc., an Indiana-based real estate developer that works mainly in medical office buildings. A closing is set for March 22.
As for the increase in building size in the new plan, the county has concluded that, from a staff perspective, there is increased demand from doctors for space, county manager Ron Holliday said.Holliday presented the plan updates to county commissioners Tuesday.”We heard from the doctors that … they need more space than the original 33,000 square feet (allotted for the medical office building),” he said.Units will be turned into condos and sold to doctors working in various fields of medicine.”There’s a little risk involved, but we think it’s marginal,” Holliday said.Commissioner Bill Wallace concurred with Holliday.
“(The risk of) using tax money to do this is that the only way the tax payers get stuck with a white elephant is that no doctors want to be in the building,” Wallace said.Voters reauthorized a mill levy in 2003 that generates about $1.6 million a year to pay for “legacy” projects such as the new Summit Community Care Clinic, recycling facilities, water storage and open space. The property tax is expected to generate more than $19 million during its 12-year lifespan.Wallace said he thinks the project is worth the risk to get the Summit Community Care Clinic built. The clinic is a nonprofit facility intended to treat the underinsured and uninsured.”The advantage to taxpayers is that the facility will be open; (we) will have a service that can’t discriminate and will be open to everyone,” Wallace said.The estimated total cost of the building is $10 million to $12 million, according to Holliday.”That’s a short-lived number,” he said. “We anticipate being taken out of more than half the cost as the project progresses. We will pass the cost along to the buyers of the (units in the) building.”
The county’s total cost after units in the building are sold to doctors will be $4 million to $6 million, Holliday said. The Summit Community Care Clinic was originally expected to cost $3.5 million to $4 million. Solid cost estimates are expected the third week of March.The new plan goes before the Ten Mile Planning Commission on March 10.A “decision package” on the plan will come before the commissioners at the end of March or beginning of April. Groundbreaking is scheduled for May.”The project is moving ahead at warp speed,” Holliday said. The building is planned to open in spring 2006.Jennifer Huffman can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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