BANGOR, Maine — Eastern Maine Medical Center was worried its 30,000-square-foot medical office building planned for just off Maine Avenue wouldn’t have enough space for all the practitioners it wants to add, so the hospital is going bigger.
Last summer, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems purchased 2.4 acres of land in the Maine Business Enterprise Park from the city for $183,000. The plot is located between Northeast Cardiology Associates and Bangor Family Medicine.
The original plan was to build a two-story, $5.25 million office hub for new doctors and specialists. However, concerns arose in recent months that the facility would be too cramped, so officials reconsidered the scale of the project.
Joel Farley, facilities administrator for EMMC, said the new building will still be two stories, but it could be up to 20,000 square feet larger than first planned, ensuring that the building provides enough space for the hospital to be flexible in how it is divided up and used.
To move forward with the project, EMHS is coming back to the city with hopes of purchasing more land — six acres at a cost of $13,333 per acre, according to Tanya Emery, Bangor’s director of economic and community development. The City Council will decide whether to authorize that purchase during its meeting Monday night.
Farley said the extra acreage will provide more room for employee parking spots and will cut down the distance patients have to walk to get from their cars to the building.
EMMC expects to break ground on the project in the spring or early summer, and that construction should take about 18 months, according to Farley. He said the projected cost of the project has increased as the size of the building increased, but he didn’t have the new estimate immediately available.
EMHS, a nonprofit, has agreed to make an annual payment in lieu of taxes equal to 30 percent of the property value it’s built and assessed, according to Emery.
Farley said EMMC has identified a need for about 50 medical practitioners in Bangor, ranging from primary care providers and specialists to nutritionists and behavioral health professionals. Exactly how many and which doctors will set up shop in the new facility is still being worked out, according to Farley.
“It’s not OK for folks to have wait times to get in and see their doctor,” Farley said.