The St. Mary’s County Planning Commission approved Monday a new medical office building in Lexington Park to serve a recently created Enterprise Health Zone designated for the area.
The 45,870-square-foot, three-story medical arts office building is planned across from Great Mills High School and is intended to serve the Lexington Park, Great Mills and Park Hall areas, which are considered medically underserved.
The building is part of a larger redevelopment proposal called East Run that could eventually displace the residents of the Lord Calvert Mobile Home Park, the largest trailer park in St. Mary’s County. The second and third phases of East Run include 645 new homes, about 500 of them apartments, said Brian Norris, president and chief executive officer of Cherry Cove.
Norris said a community meeting was held last month for the 260-plus families living in Lord Calvert, where attendance was about 250 people, to discuss the prospect of relocation.
Norris said the medical office project is moving ahead, but it’s still not certain if the new housing component will proceed. If it does, the earliest impact on Lord Calvert residents would be in January 2015, he said.
“I lose sleep over it because you’re displacing people,” Norris told the planning commission. “I take it very seriously. But the time has come to move on” for better housing.
“The only thing we’re sure about is the medical building,” he said.
Three of the four mobile homes on the site of the new medical complex have already been moved to make way for the new building, he said, farther back in Lord Calvert.
Current tenants making payments on their trailer and paying lot rent would be able to afford to rent the new apartments if they are built, Norris said, but for those who own their trailer and are only paying lot rent, it may be tough.
“This complex here is $70 million,” he said of the apartment complex. Overall, the East Run development is about a $93 million project for Cherry Cove.
Dave Berry, planner with the St. Mary’s County Department of Land Use and Growth Management, called the East Run proposal along Great Mills Road “the first major redevelopment in the area for many years.”
“It’s very ambitious and it’s going to be very good for Lexington Park and Great Mills Road,” said Howard Thompson, chairman of the planning commission.
The corner lot at Great Mills and Chancellor’s Run roads was home to a vacated gas station for years, but has been cleared by Cherry Cove and Norris said he’s working to bring in a new pharmacy there.
Cherry Cove will own the new medical office building and lease it out to medical providers, Norris said. “We are leasing to MedStar at cost,” he said, and he is seeking 11 care physicians as tenants.
There could be a Veterans Administration presence in the office, Norris said.
The East Run building will be smaller than the Bean medical building in Hollywood, but larger than the new Jarboe medical building in Lexington Park, he said.
Lexington Park won designation as a Health Enterprise Zone last year, one of five in the state. The designation includes a $3.4 million grant over four years for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and its numerous partners to bring in more health care specialists to the Lexington Park, Great Mills and Park Hall areas.