HCMC expanding downtown campus

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April 14, 2014 // UPDATED 10:07 am - April 15, 2014
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
New clinic and specialty center expected to open in 2016

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) plans to build a new 322,000-square-foot clinic for outpatient care and specialty services.

The Hennepin County Board has approved spending $10 million to acquire property for the new clinic across from the hospital's Emergency Department on 8th Street between Park and Chicago avenues, according to an HCMC news release.

The total cost of the clinic is estimated at $191 million, which will be financed by a bond sale pending approval by the County Board.

"First and foremost this new facility will improve the experience for our patients," said Jon Pryor, CEO of Hennepin Healthcare System Inc., in a statement. "Right now our primary care and specialty care clinics downtown are spread across nine buildings that we own or lease. Bringing them together into one building will make it more convenient for our patients and more efficient for our staff."

The goal is to open the clinic in 2016. It will be a few blocks from the new Vikings stadium, Wells Fargo buildings and residential development planned for Downtown East. 

A recent study indicated HCMC's downtown campus would be maxed out by 2017 without an expansion.

"This will be a centerpiece of our downtown campus and, more importantly, enable us to provide quality care to our current and expanding patient base efficiently and effectively," said Sharon Sayles Belton, chair of the Hennepin Healthcare System Inc. board of directors. "HCMC has been a good neighbor, major employer, and community partner in the Elliot Park neighborhood for more than 40 years and with this project we will participate in the continued transformation of the east side of downtown Minneapolis."

HCMC's newest buildings were built in the mid-1970s and were linked with the Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC), which closed in 1991. The county purchased MMC after it closed and those building became part of the HCMC complex. 

HCMC has the largest emergency department in the state. The downtown hospital, which serves as an academic medical center, has 455 acute care beds. It has primary care and specialty clinics downtown, in St. Anthony, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Golden Valley and Richfield. It also has clinics in Whittier and East Lake Street. 

Scott Wordelman, vice president of HCMC's Ambulatory Care, said the new clinic will make it easier for patients visiting HCMC.

"Our specialty services in the new building will be convenient if you are coming from outside of downtown, and will feature the kind of care, access, and amenities that will make it an exceptional experience for our patients," he said. "With the recent growth of our neighborhood clinic system in Minneapolis and suburban Hennepin County, we are seeing more patients come downtown for specialty care and this new facility will serve them well."

Lynn Regnier, executiver director of Elliot Park Neighborhood Inc., said the expansion is welcome news. 

"HCMC has been working to consolidate and expand their downtown clinics  for a long time and we are pleased to welcome this new facility in Elliot Park," she said. "The project provides for more convenient access to their health care services and brings an exciting new development to the community. This is good news, indeed."