INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP, MI-Flint-based McLaren Health Care and Clarkston Medical Group have broken ground on the $600-million McLaren Health Care Village here at the intersection of Sashabaw Road and Bow Pointe Drive. The Clarkston area has been one of the state’s highest growth areas in the past five years.

The project will be built on 79 acres, and will include a 135,000-sf medical office building, smaller office facilities, an ambulatory surgery center, a cancer center and a heart center. The companies have applied with the state to build a hospital with up to 300 rooms, but a law preventing the move of beds from underused hospitals has kept the project from receiving a certificate of need.

Philip Incarnati, McLaren president and CEO, says in a statement that the company believes the need for the hospital is there. “We studied the area very carefully, and discovered that comprehensive healthcare services weren’t available,” Incarnati says. “We’re determined to provide the residents of the City of Clarkston and Independence Township access to the most recent state-of-the-art technologies and comprehensive healthcare facilities.”

Construction will take place in three phases. The first phase will feature the 135,000-sf office building for Clarkston Medical Group, and will include a 15,000-sf ambulatory surgical center. Also included in this phase will be a 30,000-sf, freestanding cancer treatment center with gardens, bike paths and walking trails, which will be open to the public. This phase should be complete by January 2009.

The second phase will include the cardiac center, three life science facilities, additional medical office buildings and the hospital, if it can pass state approval. The third phase would add hospital beds, again, if the state approves. These phases will take five to seven years to complete, according to the statement.

McLaren has 150 healthcare locations in the state, including seven regional hospitals. The company registered more than $3.1 billion in revenue in 2006.

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