Saturday, May 18, 2013
PORTLAND - Mercy Hospital is seeking state permits to start the second phase of construction on its 42-acre Fore River campus.
The hospital plans a three-story addition to the main hospital building, two parking garages, a medical office building and infrastructure upgrades.
Mercy Hospital opened its Fore River campus in 2008. It has long intended to move most of its operations there from State Street by 2018 to coincide with the hospital's centennial, said Susan Rouillard, Mercy's chief development and communications officer.
On July 9 at the Fore River campus, the hospital will publicly present a range of development options drafted by a consultant. Rouillard said it's too soon to discuss specific time frames for submitting plans to the city, or the fate of the hospital on State Street.
"This is just a very early step in the process," she said.
Mercy wants to relocate most, if not all, of its Spring Street operations to the Fore River campus, said Bob Nutter, Mercy's chief operating officer.
"It's better clinical care to have all of our services at one location," he said. "There's a lot of duplication of services (at State Street and Fore River) that we'll be able to reduce when we're on one campus."
The project needs two permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection that expire four years from approval: a Natural Resources Protection Act permit, because the site is near the Fore River and contains wetlands; and a Site Location of Development permit, because of the project's size.
Mercy told the DEP that it intends to apply for the permits by July 23. The DEP will take as long as 90 days to rule on the Natural Resources Protection permit and 150 days for the site permit, said Samantha Depoy-Warren, the DEP's spokeswoman.
"Knowing what we can do on that campus is critical," Nutter said. "Once we know that, we can roll up our sleeves" and work on building designs.
The hospital on State Street may host some clinical care after the Fore River campus expansion, Nutter said.
Mercy Hospital began operating in 1918, when the Sisters of Mercy started treating residents in Portland at Queen's Hospital, at the corner of State and Congress streets, during a flu epidemic.
In 1943, the nonprofit hospital opened its 150-bed facility at 144 State St. The hospital was expanded in 1952 and renovated in the 1980s.
Mercy also has locations in Windham, Westbrook, Yarmouth and Gorham.
Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at: