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TOPSHAM — Central Maine Healthcare will open an outpatient care center in a 44,000-square-foot former Best Buy store at 105 Topsham Fair Mall Road.
105 Topsham Fair Mall LLC bought the property in December from AB Holdings Co. LLC for $5.14 million, but the use wasn’t made public at the time.
Lewiston-based Central Maine Healthcare last week unveiled the outpatient care center, which is slated to open in July.
The new center will be the first in a planned network of CMHC outpatient centers, combining imaging, urgent care, cancer care and lab services in one place. It will complement the health system's inpatient hospitals, Lewiston’s Central Maine Medical Center. Bridgton Hospital and Rumford Hospital, according to a news release from the health care company.
The center will have nine exam rooms for specialty care; urgent care, with six exam rooms; imaging services, a 5,600-square-foot atrium, featuring a charging station and “open, comfortable seating” and a community room for educational programming and events. Cancer services include 14 exam rooms, 16 infusion chairs with privacy cubicles, a garden reflection area and additional mental health, counseling, naturopathy and acupuncture services.
At the time of the sale, Derek Miller, of CBRE | The Boulos Co. told Mainebiz that there was a lot of retail interest in the building. “And we could have gone that route, but ultimately, we had a strong buyer come forward with an exciting plan to redevelop the property."
He said the deal was in the works for about a year and a half, and had a lot of moving pieces, including moving Dollar Tree to 131 Topsham Fair Mall. Buffalo Wild Wings, another tenant at the site, is staying.
While the building is in good shape, Miller said the project will involve a lot of renovation. That work is well underway.
The health care center isn’t the first foray into the Mid-Coast for Central Maine Healthcare. In 2012, the company attempted to partner with 55-bed Parkview Medical Center in Brunswick under a change of control request. Parkview would have become part of the Central Maine Healthcare network. Central Maine Healthcare withdrew in October 2013, saying the state wasn’t giving the organization enough time to complete a feasibility student, and Parkview ultimately merged with Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hospital.
CMHC has partnered with New England Cancer Specialists and Shields Health Care Group, and its multi-disciplinary affiliation with Massachusetts General Hospital supports the development of new programs, the release said.
CMHC officials said the center will “offer a unique patient experience at a lower cost structure than what patients would experience in an inpatient setting.”
Rotating clinics will provide a range of specialty care services, which will allow patients to access a variety of care without having to travel.
NECS Executive Director Steven D'Amato said there is a significant need for cancer care in the area and said that the new Topsham Care Center will enable his practice, which saw 9,600 patients in Brunswick in 2017, to expand. He said expansion will include new providers and infusion chairs, which means less of a wait for patients.
"This is a new healthcare delivery model for Mainers," said Jeff Brickman, CEO of CMHC, in a news release. "We have made significant investments in our services and are committed to providing this community with convenient, affordable access to the quality healthcare it needs, with an unparalleled patient experience."
Carmel Shields, executive vice president of Shields Health Care Group, said that her company has been working with Central Maine Healthcare for the past two years, and will expand its imaging partnership with the new location.
Shields Health Care Group will provide a full spectrum of non-emergency radiology services at the Topsham Care Center, including MRI, PET/CT, CT, ultrasound, mammography and echocardiography.
CMHC and Mass General have been working together for more than a year on initiatives including cardiology, oncology and neuroscience programs, trauma care and physician recruitment.
The Topsham Fair Mall area, off Exit 31 of Interstate 295 has about 750,000 square feet of commercial space spread along the south side of Route 196. The original mall, at the intersection of Route 196 and Topsham Fair Mall Road, was built in 1985. Since then, other developments have been built down the road, including at 105 and 131 Topsham Fair Mall Road.
While some big box stores have left in the last two years — including Best Buy; Bed, Bath & Beyond and Maurices clothing, the vacancy rate is low. At the Maine Real Estate and Development Association conference in January, Steve Levesque, executive director of the MIdcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority said that land sales are expected to take precedence in that area, with asking prices that vary between $9,000 an acre to $200,000 an acre in the mall area.
At the time of the conference, in January, about 10,000 square feet of commercial space was available in the area.
Crooker Construction, which operates a gravel pit across the street from the entrance to the Topsham Fair Mall and other commercial sites along Topsham Fair Road, is expected to move out of the 50 acres it owns within the next two or three years, making it available for development.