Allegheny Health Network breaks ground for 10-bed hospital in Harmar
The ceremonial first shovel of dirt has been dug at the site of Allegheny Health Network’s new neighborhood hospital in Harmar.
Executives from Allegheny Health Network, Highmark and Emerus joined local and state officials Friday to kick off the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks.
The facility will be a 24-hour emergency care hospital that will also offer other medical services such as lab tests, imaging services and inpatient care.
Allegheny Health Network President and CEO Cynthia Hundorfean said they picked Harmar for the hospital because there is a high number of patients and network members in the area. It’s also situated right between Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison and an outpatient facility near Fox Chapel.
“We were very deliberate about the location,” Hundorfean said. “We are so proud to be able to provide this in this area right between our two (other) facilities.”
It’s also about 6 miles from competitor UPMC’s St. Margaret hospital in Pittsburgh, 10 miles from AHN’s own Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison and 12 miles from its flagship hospital, Allegheny General on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
Allegheny Health Network has formed a joint venture with Texas-based Emerus, a developer and operator of neighborhood hospitals, to build four such hospitals in the Pittsburgh area. The others will be located in McCandless, Hempfield and Brentwood.
Harmar supervisors gave their final approval in July for the two-story, 10-bed hospital. Earlier in the year officials changed the zoning ordinance to designate hospitals, health care facilities and urgent care centers as permitted uses in the township’s commercial zones.
“We couldn’t be more proud that you are here,” said Harmar Supervisor Lee Biermeyer.
Biermeyer said not only will the hospital provide health care close to home, but will also generate tax revenue for the township. Typically hospitals are tax exempt, but because the property will be owned by a private developer, it will pay the 3.45 mills in property taxes.
The hospital will be located at the intersection of Freeport Road and Guys Run Road next to the Zone 28 entertainment center.
Biermeyer said they are going to encourage construction workers to use the traffic light on Guys Run Road instead of pulling directly onto Freeport Road to eliminate any traffic issues.
Once the hospital is open, drivers will not be permitted to exit directly onto Freeport Road. Instead, they will be required to use the traffic light or exit at the other end of the parking lot into a middle turning lane.
“We’re not against making modifications if we have to,” he said of the traffic patterns.
State Rep. Frank Dermody and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald praised the project.
“This is a great addition to the Allegheny Valley,” Dermody said.
Fitzgerald said he has seen a lot of interest in Harmar from companies looking for new locations.
“It’s great to see the investment you continue to make in the region,” Fitzgerald said.
Highmark Health Executive Vice President Dan Onorato said the hospital is another sign of the company’s commitment to the Route 28 corridor.
“This is the missing piece right here,” he said.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser.