The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday April 12th

UNC Health Care looking to expand patient care with new Eastowne development

<p>This is a rendering of what the Michael building, a part of UNC Health Care's Eastowne Development Project, will look like once it is finished in 2020. Photo courtesy of Development &amp; Construction Insight LLC and UNC Health Care.</p>
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This is a rendering of what the Michael building, a part of UNC Health Care's Eastowne Development Project, will look like once it is finished in 2020. Photo courtesy of Development & Construction Insight LLC and UNC Health Care.

Residents were able to attend an open house for the Eastowne Medical Park last Thursday to learn about the mission of the project and its progress.

The UNC Medical Center started its new development project on Eastowne Medical Park in December 2018.

The main goal of the UNC medical facility is to expand its care footprint and introduce more care specialists to the area. An additional project is also being developed in Panther Creek in Wake County. 

On Sept. 19, 2018, the project was approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council, who had been working on creating a plan that took consideration of all the shareholders and the community. The project is on a 48-acre piece of land at 15-501 and Eastowne Drive in Chapel Hill. Four buildings were demolished to make way for the new project, which will be six stories and also have a variety of medical specialties.

An infusion center, a diagnostic radiology suite and laboratory services will also be built. Other facility amenities will include a café kiosk and retail pharmacy for both the staff and patients.

Within the six story building, there will be 153,000 square feet of office space, while a 5.5 story parking deck with 580 parking spaces is also being built.

Alan Wolf, a media relations manager for UNC Health Care, said the project was a step to a greater plan with the Town of Chapel Hill.  

“This project is really one piece of a much larger puzzle," Wolf said. "UNC Health Care is undertaking a pretty ambitious expansion in the Triangle, both in Chapel Hill and also in Wake County. It's all aimed at improving care and access to that care for patients and their families.” 

Wolf said population growth has contributed to the need for more convenient access to medical care. With the population also aging, it was important to meet the demand for services and care that were close to home and easily accessible.

Wolf said the project would alleviate congestion that often causes problems on the main medical campus.

“So this type of project, this Eastowne project will be much easier to get into, easier parking, easier access, it's near that intersection of I-40 and 15-501, so it’s a pretty well traveled route anyway,” he said.

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger also highlighted the convenient location. 

“We're very excited to have UNC Health Care call Chapel Hill home," she said. "We think it's a great location, it'll allow people — it's got direct access to the I-40, it was supposed to have the rail connection, but we'll be working on bus connection now or other types of modes, and we know it'll be a huge job center in our community."

The University has expressed interest about getting outside input on the plan and offering workshops, walking tours and open house meetings to touch on topics such as site ecology and resiliency.

Hemminger said the Town was excited to be working with the UNC Health Care to create a win-win project for Chapel Hill.

The Stormwater Management Utility Advisory Board, along with the Parks & Recreations Commission, have provided input into the planning process as well. By doing so, UNC Health Care hoped to address the need for an effective stormwater utility management system and also assure the new construction on the site of the development will not increase congestion in the area. 

Wolf said the current project is just part one out of four planning stages. The Master Plan will include improvements to the project from now until the project's estimated completion in 2020. 

@ares_z19

city@dailytarheel.com


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