Maine Medical Center officials say they want to build a large parking garage for employees off St. John Street after plans for a smaller garage at Congress and Gilman streets ran into neighborhood opposition.

The new garage, with 2,222 spaces, would be on land that the hospital already leases for surface parking for employees. It’s about a third of a mile from the hospital’s current entrance, but will be closer if the hospital relocates its main entrance as part of a $512 million modernization plan that will be submitted to city officials next week.

Part of that plan calls for the existing 1,200-space garage on Congress Street to be removed. Hospital officials said the garage has reached the end of its useful life and removing it will allow the hospital to relocate its main entrance off Congress Street, away from the current entrance, which faces a residential area in the city’s West End.

But the plans for a 13-story, 1,176-space garage at Congress and Gilman streets, which is on a corner of Maine Med’s existing campus, faced opposition. Neighbors complained that the structure was too large.

The St. John Street garage, hospital officials said, would contain 10 parking decks. Parking decks, they said, are shorter than typical building floors and the plans for the new garage submitted to the city call for the new garage to be less than 125 feet tall.

The new location, behind 222 St. John St., is farther away, and the hospital will run shuttle buses for employees from the parking facility to the hospital, said John Porter, spokesman for MaineHealth, which operates Maine Med and about a dozen other health care facilities in the state. The hospital already runs some shuttle buses from satellite parking lots around the city for its 7,000-person workforce, but said employee parking remains tight.


Porter said that once the main entrance is relocated, employee parking off St. John Street will be about a quarter-mile from the hospital’s entrance.

“We knew that our initial parking proposal was something that people had real concerns about, and we couldn’t just ignore that,” Jeff Sanders, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Maine Med, said in a statement Tuesday. “This new plan meets the needs of our employees and addresses our neighbors’ concerns.”

The new plan is contingent on reaching terms with East Brown Cow Management, which owns the property, and obtaining city approval, hospital officials said. And Sanders said the hospital will return to its original plan for a garage on Congress and Gilman streets if the St. John Street plans don’t work out.

Maine Med plans to modernize the hospital to add more single-patient rooms and upgrade its surgery facilities. The hospital said it will face capacity shortages without the $512 million upgrade.



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: