The board at Hennepin County Medical Center approved a significant increase in both size and scope of its new ambulatory outpatient building on Tuesday.

The new specialty complex's footprint will increase 45,000 square feet from 322,000 to 367,000 square feet. This also raises the total cost $33 million, from $191.7 million to $224.6 million, according to a news release.

 HCMC's board decided its current plans weren't big enough.  Without expanding its plans, "significant additional investment would have been needed to relocate and renovate up to six clinics that did not fit into the new facility."

There are currently 43 individual clinics scattered across nine buildings. This massive relocation effort will allow all of those to be consolidated into 25 clinics, as well as its Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the new six-story care center.

"It's a really complex place," said Scott Wordelman, vice president of ambulatory services. "We are in the process of updating our entire campus plan based on this decision."

Located between 8th and 9th streets and Chicago and Park avenues, the new building is meant to improve efficiency and accessibility while also expanding evening and weekend hours to meet the growing demand of its patients.

“As we completed a careful analysis of our current needs and the volume growth that we’ve seen in the past two years, it has become clear that we would not be able to consolidate all of the clinics and services that are today spread across nine buildings downtown in the square footage originally proposed,” said  in the release.

The Star Tribune reported Sunday that east downtown Minneapolis is undergoing a surge in development interests and HCMC, as the neighborhood's largest employer, is a major player in that transition. 

“Understanding the changing needs and development in the east downtown area, this plan gives us the greatest flexibility for the rest of the campus as we take a fresh look at our facilities,” said Wordelman.

HCMC's revised plan will delay ground breaking by a few months, pushing it back to November. The new specialty building is expected to start seeing patients in December 2017. Hennepin County will be asked to issue bonds to finance the project. The healthcare center will pay down the debt through its operating income.

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