BANGOR, Maine — St. Joseph Healthcare is literally building on an increased demand for primary medical care with two separate expansion projects.
One involves the demolition of an empty house used for storage and construction of a 39-space parking lot at 275 Center St. The other involves building a new medical services building as well as additional parking on a 2½-acre lot between 900 and 954 Broadway.
“This will accommodate new growth we’re experiencing,” said Lois Macias, St. Joseph Healthcare’s vice president of integrated care and physician practices. “It is indicative of the growth we’re seeing in the health care field overall, but specifically the need for primary care providers is growing and that’s what we’re responding to.”
Both projects require Bangor Planning Board approval, and the Broadway project got that Tuesday night as board members voted 6-0 to recommend it to the Bangor City Council, which can vote to approve it as early as Monday, April 1. The Center Street project will go before the board on Tuesday, April 2.
The Broadway project required a zoning change from the board that would change current building standards, which differ in adjoining lots despite the fact they are both the same type of zones.
“They’re both government/institutional service district zones, but they have different setback standards, buffers, trees and vegetation standards, and height and parking restrictions,” said David Gould, Bangor’s planning officer.
The two different contract zone changes, one done in 1997 and one in 2008, created a lot of difficulty for site planners.
“What we did is we took the two old contracts with the new application and established one set of standards for the whole set of property, which encompasses 20 acres in all,” Gould explained. “The essential nature of the restrictions is the same, relative to setbacks, building height, and limits on impervious surface [building or pavement].”
The new Broadway building — the proposed new home for internal medicine and family practice — would be approximately 22,000 square feet and part of the remaining extra acreage would be used for a parking lot with a total of more than 100 spaces. Four already existing buildings on the adjoining 17½-acre lot at 900 Broadway will host specialized medical service practitioners.
The 39-spot lot on Center Street also involves some shuffling of building space.
“Our Home Health Department is shifting from 900 Broadway to the former Felician Sister’s residence on Congress Street,” said Macias.
That building is currently unoccupied and only used for storage.
“They [home health] will occupy part of it. The rest would continue to be used as office space,” she explained.
The shift of staff from Broadway to Congress would increase the need for more parking, so the Center Street lot would be available to both patients and staff members. Pending approval, this project will be the first to be completed.
“That one will move right along and be done this summer, city and weather permitting,” she said.
The Broadway health care complex expansion will take longer.
“We expect to start construction in late summer and have it done by August 2014,” Macias said.
If the planning board votes to recommend approval for both projects, the Bangor City Council can approve them as early as Monday, April 1.