By Kurt Batdorf HBJ Editor
MONROE — Providence Regional Medical Center broke ground Nov. 6 on a new $22 million medical building that’s almost twice as big and will handle up to four times as many patients as the current clinic.
As soon as the dignitaries and visitors left the vacant lot on N. Kelsey Street, Sellen Contractors immediately went to work preparing the site of the 42,000-square-foot, two-story clinic. It’s scheduled to open in October 2013.
Providence Medical Building Monroe, as it will be known, will house the staff from the existing Providence Medical Group Monroe Clinic, which opened nearly 20 years ago and now serves about 30,000 patients each year. The new clinic will be home to 180 medical professionals, including 25 physicians, offering outpatient urgent care, primary care, specialty care, high-tech imaging services, noninvasive diagnostics and lab services.
Providence Health &Services Western Washington CEO David Brooks said the new clinic will be “very patient focused” and will feature architecture and decor similar to the $500 million towers at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett that opened in 2011.
Providence paid $2.5 million for the 5-acre parcel. The sale closed Nov. 1.
“We know we are spending that money well,” Brooks said of the new Monroe clinic.
Architect Phil Giuntoli, principal at CollinsWoerman in Seattle, said Providence wanted a clean design that echoed the look of the towers in Everett while improving efficiency and focusing on the patient experience.
“Monroe’s been such a huge part of the growth in the county,” said Providence Regional Medical Center board member Bob Leach, a financial adviser at D.A. Davidson Co. in Everett. “This clinic gives Monroe access they need to health care.”
With the new clinic, said Providence Regional Medical Center board member Tom Gaffney, a retired partner with Moss Adams in Everett, “We’re creating more access for people where they live and work.”
“We are a growing community with growing needs,” said Donetta Walser, a patient at Providence Medical Group Monroe Clinic.
Sellen project manager Dan Schnebele said he expects to have about 75 workers on site at the peak of construction.
Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman welcomed Providence’s investment in the city’s N. Kelsey Street area, a onetime gravel pit originally owned by Snohomish County. The city used bonds to buy the land from the county in 2003 for its commercial development potential.
“At the time, everyone hoped it would work out,” Zimmerman said.
Development came in fits and starts until the recession in 2008 brought N. Kelsey projects to a virtual standstill.
“I’m thrilled that this day has come,” he said. “It’s a big deal for Providence but a bigger deal for the city of Monroe.”
The sale to Providence is the first of three pending city-owned land transactions on N. Kelsey Street to close.
The second parcel, a sale to Sabey Corp., is pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Friends of North Kelsey. Should the State Court of Appeals rule in favor of the city and Walmart, the identified buyer from Sabey, the city will receive $7.5 million upon closing. The new Providence clinic site is directly across N. Kelsey Street from the proposed Walmart store.
Zimmerman said the city is also negotiating the sale of the ground lease at Galaxy Theaters for $2 million to Beta-Kelsey. The movie theater will continue to operate, but the city will no longer be its landlord.
“The city needs to get out of the real estate business,” Zimmerman said.
The Monroe City Council recently adopted a resolution to use the proceeds from the sale of city assets, such as the N. Kelsey Street property, to pay off bond debt, fund reserve accounts and establish a contingency fund which the council can use for yet to be identified capital or one-time projects.
Kurt Batdorf: 425-339-3102; firstname.lastname@example.org.