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St. Francis Hospital project targets Greenwood's growth

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It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is going to build an emergency room and medical office complex near Greenwood: The area has been growing 10 times faster than the city of Indianapolis over the past decade.

OTB healthcare St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is the city’s fourth-largest hospital system. (IBJ File Photo)

The $20 million facility, for which St. Francis disclosed its plans in late November, would attempt to capture some of the 32-percent growth in population Greenwood experienced from 2000 to 2009, according to Census Bureau estimates.

“That’s a fast-growing area,” said St. Francis spokesman Joe Stuteville, adding, “We just felt there was a particular need for ER services.”

The free-standing ER, which is projected to open in September 2012, would be the third such facility in the Indianapolis area. St. Vincent Health opened a free-standing ER in Fishers in 2008. And Witham Health Services opened one outside Zionsville in 2009.

Karlsberger, a health care architectural firm in Columbus, Ohio, describes the free-standing ER as a key hospital strategy to increase market share in lucrative suburban communities while establishing a presence in locations that are likely to need a full-service hospital.

For 10 years, St. Francis has owned the 50-acre site where the new ER will be built, along State Road 37 at Fairview Road. It was planning to build a facility there a couple of years ago, but the recession and Wall Street meltdown forced it to wait until more favorable financial times.

The new facility is roughly a 10-mile drive from either St. Francis Hospital in Mooresville or St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis campus is undergoing an expansion of its emergency room in a project that will be completed by May 2012. St. Francis will be ending emergency and inpatient services at its oldest hospital in Beech Grove once the expansion at the Indianapolis campus is complete.

But in spite of the proximity of St. Francis’ existing hospitals, Greenwood’s growth—roughly equal to what Carmel and Noblesville have experienced this decade—convinced St. Francis that there is an unmet need. Also, larger rivals Clarian Health and Community Health Network have either expanded or explored expanding facilities in Indianapolis’ southern suburbs, posing a threat to St. Francis’ dominance of the region.

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  1. It is nice and all that the developer grew up here and lives here, but do you think a company that builds and rehabs cottage-style homes has the chops to develop $150 Million of office, retail, and residential? I'm guessing they will quickly be over their skis and begging the city for even more help... This project should occur organically and be developed by those that can handle the size and scope of something like this as several other posters have mentioned.

  2. It amazes me how people with apparently zero knowledge of free markets or capitalism feel the need to read and post on a business journal website. Perhaps the Daily Worker would suit your interests better. It's definitely more sympathetic to your pro government theft views. It's too bad the Star is so awful as I'm sure you would find a much better home there.

  3. In other cities, expensive new construction projects are announced by real estate developers. In Carmel, they are announced by the local mayor. I am so, so glad I don't live in Carmel's taxbase--did you see that Carmel, a small Midwest suburb, has $500 million in debt?? That's unreal! The mayor thinks he's playing with Lego sets and Monopoly money here! Let these projects develop organically without government/taxpayer backing! Also, from a design standpoint, the whole town of Carmel looks comical. Grand, French-style buildings and promenades, sitting next to tire yards. Who do you guys think you are? Just my POV as a recent transplant to Indy.

  4. GeorgeP, you mention "necessities". Where in the announcement did it say anything about basic essentials like groceries? None of the plans and "vision" have basic essentials listed and nothing has been built. Traffic WILL be a nightmare. There is no east/west road capacity. GeorgeP, you also post on www.carmelchatter.com and your posts have repeatedly been proven wrong. You seem to have a fair amount of inside knowledge. Do you work on the third floor of Carmel City Hal?

  5. I don't know about the commuter buses...but it's a huge joke to see these IndyGo buses with just one or two passengers. Absolutely a disgusting waste of TAXPAYER money. Get some cojones and stop funding them. These (all of them) council members work for you. FIRE THEM!

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