Grading to start soon for future Westside medical facility, Centennial extension

       Grading is anticipated within the next two months on a 44-acre parcel south of Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard that is to contain the largest medical building on the Westside and possibly in the region.
       Colorado Springs Health Partners (CSHP), a consortium of physicians which formed nearly 60 years ago, closed on the property last month and is finalizing plans for a 110,000 square-foot facility, as well as the southward extension of Centennial Boulevard, according to Mark Iorio, chief executive officer for CSHP.
       The purchase price from Hill Properties was $6 million, with site development of the 33.5 usable acres anticipated at $3 million, he said in an interview this week. To come up with the funds for the purchase, CSHP sold all its downtown properties (although offices currently remain there through a lease agreement), as well as part of its Briargate holdings, Iorio said.
       He thinks the price will be worth it. “We've been located downtown since 1946, and we wanted to remain close to the interstate without moving too far from a central location,” he said. “We looked at several sites downtown, but they didn't work because of costs and lack of flexibility for growth.”
       As for the Fillmore-Centennial location, atop a hill that provides views in nearly all directions, “it's a spectacular site,” Iorio said, adding that it also leaves room for eventual expansion to a total building footprint of 250,000 square feet.
       Parts of the property are steep. Grading is particularly needed on the southwest corner of the property, which will require 800,000 yards of fill, he said. A geologic study of an 83-acre area including CSHP's 44 had prescribed cuts and fills of up to 50 feet in places.
       The timetable calls for the roughly quarter-mile extension of Centennial Boulevard to go in first, with completion seen in 2006. It would temporarily dead-end at the south boundary of the property, because no development has occurred yet on the property south of CSHP's. The four-lane arterial is master-planned to eventually extend south behind the Mesa Springs neighborhood to the Fontanero Street interchange at I-25.
       A decision still needs to be made on when CSHP will break ground for its building, which will be directly accessible from Centennial (not Fillmore) and surrounded by a 560-car parking lot and associated landscaping. One of the factors, Iorio said, is that CSHP has up to five years on its downtown lease; construction of the new facility is expected to take two to three years.
       Another future factor is the portion of the 44-acre tract lying south and east of the 14 acres holding its planned building and future expansion. CSHP plans to sell at least some of this land. The “hope,” Iorio said, is that some or all of it will eventually be developed by other medically oriented businesses so that the whole hilltop there will become a “health-care campus.”
       When built, the 110,000-square-foot facility is to house 90 physicians with “all our specialists and major diagnostic capabilities,” Iorio said. This will make CSHP the largest group-practice building in the area. The entity as a whole, including all 11 of its locations, is now the “largest multi-specialty physician group south of Denver,” he said.
       The west side of the building, showing one floor, will open into office space for specialists, as well as a pharmacy and lab. The east side of the building, showing two floors (being slightly downhill), will allow basement entry to urgent care, radiology and ambulatory surgery, he said.

Westside Pioneer article