The site selector for the new $290 million hospital may have left town but the courting continues.
The Upper Peninsula Medical Center is among the most prominent and ardent courters.
The Medical Center, which is owned by about 40 members (mostly physicians) and provides offices for more than 100 physicians, has come up with four different site plans for Duke LifePoint. Three of them would keep most of the current buildings on the site but provide space for an eight story, 600,000 square foot hospital. One of the plans would simply allow the razing of the property so that Duke LifePoint could build a brand new complex.
Duke LifePoint and Hugh Miller, the executive director of the Med Center, have been in regular contact with each other for the last few months. Another consultation is expected next week.
The Med Center badly wants the new hospital to locate on its grounds or at the very least, nearby. If the new hospital were to re-locate, say, in Marquette Township, a substantial number of the doctors would likely leave the Med Center. That would devalue the Med Center and probably open it up to other types of offices outside the medical profession.
And what about Duke LifePoint’s reported interest in Marquette Golf Club?
Well, the site selector recently visited the golf course, consulted with golf course officials, gazed at the snow and trees and said he would be back in touch within 30 days. Who’s courting whom here? Good question.
Marquette Township, the other player in this competition, has attractive sites available just off US-41, near Lowes and the Westwood Mall. The Township, which has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, would love to lure the hospital away from the city…and has the land and enthusiasm to do it.
It may simply come down to dollars. Who will offer the better deal in terms of acquisition costs, taxes and tax abatements?
Regarding the recent presentation by site selector Dana Young at the meeting of the Lake Superior Community Partnership: Most of the civic and business leaders left that presentation believing that Young had told them there were only two specific sites left in the running for the hospital.
Wrong. What he actually meant, and what he clarified after the presentation, was that two municipalities, Marquette and the Township, were still in the running. Big difference. Big miscommunication, especially when you’re dealing with a fierce competition for $290 million.
One final note. After all the sites are visited, all the numbers are crunched and the courtship process plays itself out, there are still some–Marquette City Manager Bill Vajda, among them–who believe that Duke LifePoint might say, what the hell, let’s stay put and rebuild at the current site.
Stranger things have happened.