Advantage Health to be first tenant in medical development
by BETH ALTENA
There was little fanfare as the Plainfield Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved changing the zoning on acreage on the northeast corner of Seven Mile and Northland Drive from Rural Residential to Planned Unit Development (PUD) with a proposed medical complex of six buildings and future senior housing.
Ground won’t likely be broken this summer for the first phase of the project, which will be an urgent care facility, parking and a curb cut entrance on both Northland Drive and Seven Mile. According to Mike Berg of Dykema Excavators—who spoke on behalf of the project on Monday, May 2, when the vote was taken—there are still many steps to be taken before construction commences.
Al McAvoy, who was a principal player in a very visible opposition to a 2007 development plan that included an all-night gas station and a Family Fare store, had minor questions about the plan and reported that neighborhood comments about the new proposal were positive. The 27-acre PUD would be built in phases that could include an adult day care facility and an 80-bed senior housing facility. The first phase, slated for the western portion of the property, would include the urgent care facility and offices for specialists.
Dr. Fred Reverts, who currently works from the Plainfield Avenue Advantage Health facility, said patient feedback shows people would like access to specialists to be located on-site with urgent care doctors. He used the example of a person referred to a specialist who could then just see that specialist within the same building, rather than to travel to a downtown Grand Rapids hospital. This concept of “coordinated patient care” offers convenience and the location is also in a very convenient area, he said. He stressed the facility would not be a surgical center, would have evening hours but not all-night hours, and would not be the destination for ambulance patients, although patients could be transported from the facility by ambulance.
“We look at this as meeting the needs of the community,” Reverts said. He said typical hours would be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with weekend hours until 10 p.m. “In addition, we see an aging population. We look for their needs, and that is housing and health care integrated.”
Residents other than McAvoy asked questions prior to the board’s vote, but none seemed upset over the proposal.
Each member of the board expressed positive thoughts on the development. Treasurer Jim Stover noted the use would create no irritable odors and would make the intersection busier, but nothing like the business area south of the Grand River.
Vic Matthews said, “I feel this is a much better use than a grocery store. There will be traffic, but it will be spread out throughout the day and into the evenings.”
“I see no reason what is in front of me isn’t acceptable,” said Clerk Scott Harvey. “I see it as an advantage to seniors and a tie into what is going on downtown.”
Treasurer Rebecca Borek asked how long the full development might be expected to take and was told there is no way to know. Future tenants, she was told by Berg, could be an eye doctor or a facility for rehabilitation. Berg said the developers have had several interested inquiries but no commitments as yet.
Township Supervisor George Meek asked Berg if phase one could stand on its own if the additional buildings never came to fruition and was assured it could.
Berg, when asked about the stark difference in the response to this development compared to the one proposed four years ago, said, “This is a much different proposal.”