Town of Dillon moves forward with approval process for new medical facility

A rendering of the proposed Dillon Medical Building.
PUD Development Plan

A new medical facility could be on its way to Dillon after the town council voted to approve a planned unit development for the Dillon Medical Building on first reading Tuesday evening.

The proposed facility, to be located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace on the corner of North Dillon Dam Road and U.S. Highway 6, would bring improved medical services to the eastern side of the county, offering a new orthopedic surgery center, urgent care, physical therapy and more.

“I think there’s been an expression from the community that they want to have improved medical services on this side of the county,” said Tom Acre, town manager for Dillon. “The individuals developing these new services have tapped into that market and need, and feel they will be successful. The people behind the Dillon Medical Building see a lot of leakage going to Denver and Eagle County, out of Summit County. They hope to capture that market.”

The proposed development comes as part of a partnership between Ten Mile Holdings, Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, The Steadman Clinic, Vail Health and Howard Head Sports Medicine, all of which already boast roots in the greater Summit and Eagle communities. But the decision to choose Dillon for the new facility was based on a mixture of the necessity for improved medical options in the area, along with Dillon’s unique ability to meet the group’s criteria.

“I went and toured every site that met the criteria for a project like this,” said Craig Cohn, vice president of real estate development for Vail Health. “We needed the proper acreage, access and the right density. We also needed a site that would accommodate 100,000 square feet, and there aren’t a lot of those available. … Dillon ticks a lot of boxes, and it certainly isn’t overserved from a medical standpoint.”

The project was first introduced to the town earlier this year, just after St. Anthony Summit Medical Center announced its decision to contract Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center to provide emergency trauma surgery, effectively ending the hospital’s association with Vail-Summit Orthopaedics.

According to the planned unit development plan, the proposed project would include the construction of a 100,000-square-foot medical office and clinic building in two phases, along with a new parking structure for almost 300 spaces on three levels. The first phase of construction would consist of approximately 75,000 square feet and include a 21,400-square-foot surgery center in addition to an urgent care center, 72-hour recovery rooms, an orthopedic clinic, Howard Head physical therapy clinic, and would provide services such as imaging, sterile processing and a retail pharmacy.

Phase two would add on an additional 25,000 square feet, about half of which would be allocated to additional clinic space, with additional operating rooms and support space making up the rest.

While partners on the project feel that they’ll be able to capture a significant portion of the patients “leaking” toward Denver or other areas for medical services and provide more readily accessible health care for the Dillon community, the developers also feel that the new facility would bring other positive effects to town such as providing opportunities for year-round destination medical patients, financial participation in the development of a new bus stop for the Summit Stage and a place for long-time Summit County and regional physicians.

But the town is also interested in the potential financial boon to local businesses. Acre said that the town had several residential projects proposed for the same area, but chose to pursue a project that would bring more sales tax revenue to the town. Acre also noted that the new building could help create a more diverse workforce, and even spur redevelopment in the area.

“I think what it will do is bring diversity in the type of workers and incomes our workforce has here,” said Acre. “But we’ll also see the businesses in Dillon Ridge, the incoming Homewood Suites and restaurants benefitting from this. If someone is here for a surgery and needs a few extra days to recover, that helps the hotel, and the workers will shop and eat in the marketplace. In other areas where medical centers go in you see other businesses trying to locate close to them. It could help spur some redevelopment and help our existing businesses do better.”

The Dillon Medical Building is the second medical project to be approved by the town this year, along with the incoming Dillon Urgent Care and Residences development to be built along West Anemone Trail near the Dillon Dam Brewery. Despite the apparently competing businesses coming to town around the same time, representatives from the Dillon Medical Building are confident there are more than enough patients to go around.

“The population is going to continue to grow,” said Cohn. “There’s plenty of places with more than one urgent care in an area the size of Dillon. I don’t know exactly what that group is planning on doing, but I know what we plan on doing and there’s certainly a need for it.”

There is currently no set timetable for the Dillon Medical Building’s construction, as the developers await the ordinance’s second reading and public hearing on Jan. 15. But Cohn noted that the development process would continue immediately after the presumptive approval of the project with the contracting of architects and general contractors next year.

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