Is health care construction shifting?


Spectrum Health's Beltline Integrated Care Center under construction. Courtesy E&V

While the Grand Rapids skyline is still dotted with crane booms, the massive tower cranes on the Medical Mile have disappeared.

To some, the end of large projects such as the expansion of the Van Andel Institute and the new Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital could be seen as a sign that health care construction has slowed.

However, in my opinion, I see the completion of these projects as a shift, rather than a decline.

With these new spaces open and occupied, West Michigan health care systems have begun focusing their attention on renovating older spaces — as well as investing in new medical offices throughout the region.

Renovating existing spaces

Projects such as those at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and the Hauenstein Center at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital have relocated hospital services from existing parts of older buildings into new spaces.

We’re seeing how our team is working with health care providers to re-purpose areas that were vacated as new clinical, nursing and administrative spaces.

For instance, the seventh floor of Butterworth Hospital previously housed pediatric nursing care, before the new children's hospital was built.

After it was completed, the seventh floor was renovated for a new epilepsy and neurology care unit.

At Mercy Health Saint Mary's Hospital, the nursing unit on the seventh and eighth floors is currently undergoing major updates to serve future hospital needs.

New medical office space

The new Affordable Care Act will not only change how your health care is provided. It may also change where you receive your care.

Large health care systems are now assuming the role of the Accountable Care Organization, which will make them responsible for all aspects of an individual’s care.

This reorganization is behind many partnerships between large health care systems and small physician groups, which, in turn, drives the consolidation and expansion of medical office space.

These expanded facilities offer "one-stop shopping" for health care services by providing patients with multiple services, such as urgent care, radiology, laboratory and women's health services, all under one roof.

Our team is working on local projects that illustrate this new model of care, such as Advantage Health Physicians’ new space in Grand Rapids and Spectrum Health Medical Group's new Beltline Integrated Care Center in Grand Rapids Charter Township.

These facilities house multiple physician practices and specialties and are designed for streamlined medical care services.


The cranes may be gone from the Medical Mile, but the health care construction market continues to be strong in West Michigan. 

For construction companies that specialize in health care, project backlog is substantial, which allows these firms to hire new talent and continue to grow.

Not only are our local healthcare systems improving community health, but they are also continuing to boost the health of our local economy.

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