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Expansion permit approved for St. Vincent's

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St. Vincent's Health System is progressing on plans for its proposed Cancer Center and the second phase of its Heart Center at its St. Vincent's Medical Center campus along the riverfront in Riverside.

The city approved a permit for St. Vincent's to clear about 3 acres for construction of its proposed cancer center and parking garage. Meanwhile, the city Planning and Development Department conditionally approved the concurrency application for the second phase of the heart center.

In a November 2001 announcement, St. Vincent's estimated the centers would total $60 million.

While St. Vincent's had expected construction to be completed this year, St. Vincent's executive Warren Chandler said design changes warranted more time.

As for the cancer center, Chandler estimates the center and garage at $20 million. It is being paid for through internal capital dollars and donations made through the St. Vincent's Foundation recent Heart and Cancer capital campaign, he said.

The cancer center and garage are planned at the 1801 Barrs St. campus in front of an existing parking garage. It should be completed by the end of 2005, according to Chandler, senior vice president and chief information officer.

Chandler said the center will comprise 15,000 square feet of patient service space, geared toward radiation oncology, on the ground floor and another 7,300 square feet of support services on the second floor "Walk of Hope," which connects a six-story parking garage incorporated into the existing DePaul garage. It will add more than 400 spaces.

The St. Vincent's jaxhealth.org Web site said the center also will demonstrate the system's commitment "to the historical role of its founders, the Daughters of Charity, to ensure a healthier community." It said that St. Vincent's has outgrown its current facilities and that many of its cancer services are scattered throughout the hospital.

As for the heart center, the city Planning and Development Department conditionally approved the concurrency application this month for the second phase of the heart center on St. Johns Avenue, near the river side of the hospital. Concurrency is the measure of city services available to serve a project.

St. Vincent's wants to develop that phase, estimated on city plans at $16 million center, on 2.26 acres at 2708 St. Johns Ave.

Plans show that St. Vincent's would demolish 39,320 square feet of buildings on the site.

It then would build a 59,350-square-foot medical office building and parking garage and a 26,000-square-foot building multi-purpose building called The River House.

The River House will include a Spirituality Center for associates and medical staff and a replacement of the existing Sister's Quarters for the resident Daughters of Charity and any visiting nuns.

Chandler said the center also will include several million dollars of furniture, fixtures and technology. He said the majority of funds have been raised through the heart and cancer center campaign.

The first phase of the Heart Center was completed earlier this year at a cost of $20 million, which included internal renovation and equipment for four new cath labs, two new electro physiology labs, a 24-bed holding unit and an expanded non-invasive cardiology area.

Chandler expects the second phase of St. Vincent's Heart Center to start before the end of the year and to be completed in 15 to 18 months.

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This is good news. Refresh my memory: is this being built on that surface parking lot? It'll be a dense area when this building is completed. I can't wait!

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Yes, this project will take the place of that surface parking lot. The proposed Prado Walk mixed use project is also proposed across Riverside Avenue. A year from now, there will be very few surface parking lots left in that area.

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