Minneapolis healthcare projects unfold; $50 million birth center breaks ground

By Camelia Bulea, Associate Editor As it does elsewhere in the U.S., the health sector in Minneapolis and St. Paul is running counter to the nation’s economic doldrums. A $50 million birth center is scheduled to break ground this summer on the Minneapolis campus [...]

As it does elsewhere in the U.S., the health sector in Minneapolis and St. Paul is running counter to the nation’s economic doldrums. A $50 million birth center is scheduled to break ground this summer on the Minneapolis campus of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, according to local news reports. Knutson Construction Services is scheduled to complete construction of the 96,000-square-foot facility by fall 2012.

The four-story birth center was revived last year by Children’s Hospitals and Allina Health System. It represents one of a series of capital projects undertaken recently by Children’s Hospitals, which invested  $300 million in a major renovation program of its facilities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. That initiative included a 25,000-square-foot neonatal intensive care unit that opened in late 2009.

The healthcare sector in the Twin Cities region boasts a significant pipeline of projects. The Children’s Hospitals/Allina birth center will likely compete with the recently opened $275 million University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. A $36 million mental health center developed by Regions Hospital. in Downtown St. Paul is scheduled for a 2013 opening.

Nevertheless, it may be telling that construction companies are skeptical about making investments in this sector, as they expect the changes wrought by healthcare reform to bring about a pullback in construction.  Moreover, some healthcare experts contend that the supply of children’s hospital facilities in the region will exceed future demand.