A new building that would allow Animas Surgical Hospital to split outpatient and inpatient operations into separate buildings was recommended for approval by the Durango Planning Commission.
The final development plan and a height variance for the project are scheduled to go before City Council on Aug. 21. The Planning Commission voted 4-0 on Monday to recommend the project.
The three-story, 73,125-square-foot building would contain medical offices, a surgical center and a pharmacy. It would also include an attached two-story parking structure, which is expected to alleviate the parking shortage experienced at the Rivergate Medical Campus and Rivergate Lofts – with people often parking their cars illegally on Sawmill Road.
The parking structure’s upper deck, with 152 spaces, would be accessed from Sawmill Road. The lower deck, with 146 parking spaces, would be accessed from Rivergate Place. In addition, 30 parking spaces would be provided along the streets outside the parking garage.
The new building’s north side would exceed the development’s limit of 40 feet in height. It would reach 46 feet to help create a screened parking garage.
Heather Bailey, a planner with the city, said height variances were anticipated when Animas Surgical Hospital was first developed in 2003.
“This is all driven by the need for medical services,” said David Fowler, a partner and director with Capital Growth Medvest, a Birmingham, Alabama, firm that specializes in developing medical and hospital real estate projects.
“It will have a new surgical facility, new medical offices, and we are maximizing the space for parking and minimizing the space of what the building needed to be,” he said.
Steve Phillips, who owns a townhome in Rivergate Lofts, said Fowler’s team has worked with the townhome owners association in the complex, and he appreciates the efforts to solve the parking shortage.
“The parking problem has been a significant issue,” he said. “The hospital has been more successful than anyone thought. In a way, parking is a problem of that success. I’m not sure the additional parking will solve the problem, but it certainly will help,” he said.
In addition, Phillips asked that the tenants in the new building be assessed a charge to maintain a small park in Rivergate. Maintenance of the park is currently paid for by existing commercial and residential owners in the development.