An early rendering of what the New England Cancer Specialists facility at Rock Row may look like. Developers hope to wrap up the project by late 2023. Contributed / Rock Row, Waterstone Properties

Scarborough-based New England Cancer Specialists plans to build its flagship treatment and research center at Rock Row in Westbrook and have it up and running in late 2023, the oncology and hematology practice announced Wednesday.

The project has not yet begun the approval process through the Westbrook Planning Board, but City Administrator Jerre Bryant said Tuesday said the proposed medical campus is in keeping with Rock Row owner Waterstone Properties’ vision of a multi-use development.

“What Waterstone envisions here is obviously more than just a cancer center, but a whole medical service campus. This is the first major piece of the mixed-use concept that was one of the attractions of the proposal of this site,” Bryant said. “This is the first of what will be many major steps into that area. The diversification of businesses and uses on that site will have a very positive impact on the city.”

Dr. Chiara Battelli, president of New England Cancer Specialists, said in a press release that the campus would be “a comprehensive, progressive environment where innovative research and compassionate care go hand in hand to provide advanced, fully integrated care.”

“This place of healing, where state-of-the-art care, clinical research and a holistic approach to healthcare merge together, will enhance our mission and continue making life better for people with cancer and blood disorders,” Battelli said.

The independent practice of 14 physicians headquartered in Scarborough offers treatments for breast, colorectal, prostate, lung and skin cancers and has open enrollments for clinical trials that drive research on a wider range of cancers. The practice has had a working relationship with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for more than 30 years and is a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative, one of six members in New England.


New England Cancer Specialists plans to relocate its Scarborough facility to Rock Row and keep open its offices in Topsham, Kennebunk and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Plans call for two buildings on a 200,000-square-foot site near the quarry, one for treatment and research and the other for parking and “supporting retail products and services.”

New England Cancer Specialists will occupy 40,000 square feet of the primary building, and the remaining space will be available to “premier and vetted” medical practices and support services, it said. Special practices the group hopes to attract include diagnostic imaging, blood labs, physical therapy, nutritionists, family psychologists and other multi-disciplinary specialty and primary care practices.

“Various complementary integrative therapies and services will also be available for patients and their families to provide complete mind and body care, including meditation, therapeutic massages, acupuncture, specialized hair and beauty services,” states the press release.

“This contemporary center will allow us to continue offering leading-edge cancer treatments to our patients and participate in research with world-renowned partners who are striving to improve the understanding and treatment of cancer today, and in the future,” Battelli said.

Rock Row developer Josh Levy of Waterstone Properties said New England Cancer Specialists at Rock Row will be “a special place.”

“Rock Row’s core mission is to be a gathering place for people that sparks innovation, celebrates nature and improves lives – all of which NECS takes to an entirely new level,”  Levy said. “This is going to be a special place …. They are saving lives and participating in pioneering research that will have lasting impacts for cancer patients and families regionally, and far beyond.”

The center will join Rock Row tenants Market Basket and The Paper Store, and upcoming tenants Firehouse Subs, Big Fin Poke, Chase Bank and Chick-fil-A. Future tenants may also include a 122-room boutique Element Hotel, 12-screen Cinemark Theater, Starbucks and a Brew and Food Hall.

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