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West Bloomfield

January 14, 2013

Township to set work session on hospital plans

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital is young, healthy and growing, according to its supporters at a Jan. 7 West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting.

The board voted unanimously to coordinate a work session as quickly as possible between township officials and any interested parties in discussing a proposal to develop the hospital’s campus.

According to hospital officials, Henry Ford has had a presence in West Bloomfield for around 37 years, and it opened a complete hospital there in 2009.

The health system is looking to develop the southern 80 of the 160 acres that it owns between Maple and 14 Mile roads. Its current facility is located in the northern portion of the property, at 6777 W. Maple Road.

Marco Capicchioni, the health system’s vice president for facility and support services, told the township board that Henry Ford is different from most developers.

“We’ll be here for a long time,” he said. “And because of that, what we would like to do is have your permission to work with the Planning Commission to develop and amend current language and ordinances … and then to allow for a proper process of approving those facilities.”

Township Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy said the hospital’s plan to expand is a very unique opportunity for the township, and she wants to accomplish more in a work session setting.

“I know everyone in West Bloomfield is pleased that you (the hospital) decided to settle here,” she said. “I think this is a very unique opportunity for the township, a very unique opportunity for yourselves. And I personally feel that this warrants a lot of attention.”

Since the hospital opened in 2009, it has marketed itself as a community and wellness center. Its activities include cooking classes in its demonstration kitchen, and it also recently opened up a greenhouse and education center.

Under the expansion proposals, Henry Ford could add surgical outpatient centers, laboratories, research centers, “specialty hospitals” designed for rehabilitation or long-term care, housing for the elderly, medical office buildings and a “medical hotel” for recovering patients, with facilities for families or caregivers.

Plans could also include things like retail shops, a restaurant, a bank, a pharmacy, a helipad and a parking structure.

Senior Planner Sara Roediger called the proposal a unique one that looks as far ahead as 25-30 years. According to Roediger, the hospital is seeking zoning ordinance amendments and a Medical Campus District zoning classification.

“What Henry Ford reasonably would like (is) some assurance that their vision for what they want to put in this property aligns with the township’s vision,” she said.

Trustee Howard Rosenberg praised the hospital for accomplishing what it has set out to do. But he wanted to wait to discuss the matter more during a full work session with the board and department heads. “We may be getting a little ahead of ourselves tonight, in terms of hearing a technical presentation,” he said.

Learn more about West Bloomfield at www.wbtwp.com or by calling  (248) 451-4800. Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital can be reached at www.henryfordwestbloomfieldhospital.com or at (248) 325-1000.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.