Saint Agnes Embarks on Latest Piece of Campus Expansion

Saint Agnes Hospital is planning a new 60,000-square-foot medical office building on its Baltimore campus to house the hospital’s growing cancer and cardiovascular programs.

Saint Agnes’s Cancer Institute and Cardiovascular Institute have outgrown their space in the existing hospital building that dates back to the 1950s and was last renovated about 20 years ago, said William Greskovich, vice president for operations and capital projects at Saint Agnes.

The programs are treating more patients and employing new equipment which requires space like TomoTherapy, a device for treating cancer patients with radiation therapy. The new building will boost the Cancer Institute’s capacity by 40 percent.

“It will give us a state-of-the-art facility that’s in keeping with the level of service we provide,” Greskovich said. NexCore Group, a Denver developer of healthcare facilities, would build and own the $18 million building.

The building is just one piece of a sweeping $200 million building boom that promises to reshape Saint Agnes’s 32-acre complex. The hospital also plans to build a 339-space parking garage at a cost of $5 million. And on May 22, hospital officials are slated to open their latest showpiece — a new 200,000-square-foot tower with 120 private rooms.

Baltimore’s Urban Development and Architecture Review Panel needs to approve plans for the garage and medical office building before construction can begin. Architects for the two projects appeared before the panel March 31. They will return before the group, a panel of architects who advise the city’s planning department, at a future date that has not yet been set.

The garage represents a scaling back of the hospital’s plans. Saint Agnes officials originally wanted to build an 800-space facility, which would cost about $12 million. Financial constraints caused the hospital to downsize plans, Greskovich said. The garage is being designed in phases so that additional parking floors can be added alongside, as parking needs and finances dictate, he said. The spaces are needed because almost 300 hospital employees have to park at the former Cardinal Gibbons School, across Caton Avenue.

The medical office building is not expected to spawn many new medical jobs. But the building, along with the garage, will result in between 300 and 400 construction jobs over the 12 to 18 months it will take to build them, Greskovich said. The hope is to break ground on both this summer, he said.

NexCore, the medical office building’s developer, will lease space in the building to physicians in private practice who want to be on the hospital’s grounds. It is NexCore’s first project in Greater Baltimore.

“We’ve been out in the community talking to physicians,” said John Lasell, NexCore’s vice president for development and construction.

NexCore may be new to the Baltimore market, but it is no stranger to the medical office field. The company has built 26 facilities in Colorado, California and Illinois, among other states, according to its website. Three others, including the one at Saint Agnes, are either planned or in development.

Lasell said the company is interested in developing other projects in the Baltimore area but has no plans currently.

By Gary Haber, Baltimore Business Journal