MINOT, ND—Not surprisingly, theoil boom in North Dakota is fueling demand for more healthcareservices. As the population booms in once-sleepy hamlets in thenorthwest part of the state, healthcare providers are feeling theneed to expand their services to keep up with an influx of peoplerelocating in the area to work in the ever-expanding oil productionbusiness.

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One place seeing substantial growth is Minot, a city that sawonly mild population gains prior to the early 2000s. However, eversince oil production ramped up in the Bakken Oil Formation justmore than a decade ago, the city's population has jumped from about35,000 residents to more than 46,000.

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To keep up with demand, a national healthcare development firmand its partner in the project, Bismarck, ND-based St. AlexiusMedical Center, have started construction on a future 67,000 squareambulatory care center building on a greenfield site in thenorthwestern part of town.

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The developer is Denver-based NexCore Group LLC, which will ownthe two-story St. Alexius Minot Medical Plaza at2111 Landmark Circle.

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For St. Alexius, which has provided outpatient servicesin Minot at a smaller, converted office building for about sixyears, the new facility will allow it to expand its serviceofferings significantly. Those will include primary careand a number of specialty services, including orthopedics,gastroenterology and ophthalmology

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The building will also be home to physical and occupationaltherapy, a diagnostic laboratory, diagnostic imaging (x-ray,mammography, MRI, CT), and an ambulatory surgery center (ASC).

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Ever since St. Alexius began providing services in Minot, itspatient base has grown steadily, according to Todd Varney,executive managing director of development for NexCore Group.

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“The new (St. Alexius Minot MedicalPlaza) will allow (St. Alexius) to recruit additionalphysicians to the Minot community and provide specialty servicesthat patients want closer to home,” Mr. Varney said. “The newfacility and expanded services will definitely cut down on theamount of time patients currently spend traveling from Minot toBismarck for specialty services.”

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In a statement from St. Alexius, Kurt Waldbillig, VP ofPhysician Services & Outreach, explained why the system ishaving NexCore develop and own the facility, which is slated forcompletion in July 2015.

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“In a time of uncertainty in today's healthcare, St. Alexiusfelt it was in our best interest to look to an outside entity tohelp with the development, design and financing of our facility,”Mr. Waldbillig said, adding that NexCore has “invested time andmoney to make sure the product we were going to deliver was theright product for the community. Their commitment to detailhas been great, but their commitment to making sure we deliver aproduct that matches the mission of our organization has been mostimportant.”

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The architect on the project is Minneapolis-based HGA; and theconstruction manager is Indianapolis-based F.A. WilhelmConstruction Co. Inc. NexCore will provide property managementservices.

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John B. Mugford is the Editor of Healthcare Real EstateInsights™, the nation's first and only publication totallydedicated to covering news and trends in healthcare real estatedevelopment, financing and investment. For more information, pleasevisit www.HREInsights.com.

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