Residential redevelopment could go in at the former Mercy Medical Center site on Fountain Boulevard, which is in the midst of a $3.5 million demolition project.
Community Mercy Health Partners began tearing down the 550,000-square-foot former hospital in March. Completion could be delayed from the original target of June until September due to additional work required inside the building, spokesman Dave Lamb said. A large chunk of the building was torn down last month.
Several options are still on the table for redevelopment, including residential and commercial uses, Lamb said.
“We’ve been very inclusive with our redevelopment plans for our Fountain Campus,” Lamb said. “We’ve met with groups of neighborhood residents, business leaders and government leaders. They’ve all provided a great sounding board with feedback on a variety of redevelopment options. There appears to be a lot of interest in residential options. We’re still in the discussion stages and will share more firm plans with the community.”
A committee has been formed to discuss the possible reuse of the site, said Horton Hobbs, vice president for economic development at the Chamber of Greater Springfield, at last week’s Community Improvement Corp. meeting. The committee is leaning toward residential, he said, but some commercial could be included.
Hobbs was pleased the hospital took a proactive approach by asking the opinion of neighbors and other local stakeholders on how the site should be reused.
“It was very clear that residential seemed to be the most practical end use,” Hobbs said.
Mercy Medical Center closed in 2010 after merging with Community Hospital to form Community Mercy Health Partners. The new medical group then opened the downtown Springfield Regional Medical Center in late 2011.
The group recently spent about $1.6 million last year to renovate a former nursing home, now known as the Mitchell-Thomas Center, 100 W. McCreight Ave., on the Fountain Boulevard campus and move more than 50 employees there.
Excel Pediatric Rehabilitation currently occupies the first floor of that building, but will move to the vacant Bright Beginnings Child Care Center, 1345 N. Fountain Blvd., on Monday. The rehab facility’s last day at its old location was Tuesday. The rehab facility employs physical and occupational therapists and speech pathologists who treat children who face a variety of needs.
“The facility is a beautiful space that I’m sure will inspire our clients and allow us to continue in our mission to help every individual maximize functional performance and achieve independence and community integration,” Excel Coordinator Jenna Christello said.
A planned chronic care facility is also expected to open on the second floor of the Springfield Regional Imaging Center later this year.
A $7 million, 74-unit senior living facility has been proposed at the former Community Hospital site, which was demolished in 2014.
Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield applied for tax credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency for the first phase of a possible 37-unit senior living facility at the former hospital site last year, but was rejected in its initial request. The group has applied again this year with the help of the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, a statewide tax credit developer.
If tax credits are approved on June 15, construction on the project could begin next spring. The facility already has more than 80 people on a waiting list for the 55-and-older complex, officials said recently.
Brandy Summers, who lives nearby on Garfield Avenue, said a community pool would be a great addition to the North Fountain neighborhood.
“It would be easier to just walk across the street,” Summers said.
Summers also would’ve liked for both hospital buildings to be sold and redeveloped, she said, rather than demolished.
“It’s just sad,” Summers said.