Group Health moves into new $27 million tower in Clifton

Group Health Associates is celebrating the opening of their new $27 million medical office building in Clifton today. The eight-story tower is connected to Good Samaritan Hospital at Clifton Avenue and Dixmyth Avenue. The existing building, located approximately a half-mile down the street at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Clifton Avenue, is scheduled to be imploded this September.

Both Group Health Associates and Good Samaritan Hospital are divisions of TriHealth, and TriHealth President and CEO, John Prout, reiterated the company’s’ commitment to servicing the urban core and contributing to Uptown’s vibrancy.

“This investment is part of TriHealth’s ongoing commitment to Uptown as a vibrant community, business center, education center, and medical hub for the region,” Prout told UrbanCincy. “And I add my thanks to all the private and public partners who helped make this a reality.”

Group Health’s new Clifton facility sits next to Good Samaritan Hospital along Dixmyth Avenue. Photograph by Jake Mecklenborg for UrbanCincy.

The 67,000-square-foot facility had been under construction since early 2011, and is considered to be state of the art. Individuals passing on the street will notice that the medical tower sits atop a five-story parking garage, but individuals using the facility will reportedly experience better access to physician specialists, a full service pharmacy and more integrated services as a result of being located on the Good Samaritan campus.

According to Group Health officials, the medical group will also begin offering neurology as a specialty and plans to add ten more physicians to round out the facilities services in September.

Construction of the new medical facility was made possible by low-cost financing from the Uptown Consortium through its Uptown Partners’ Loan Pool.

The land, however, was not readily available until the $4 million realignment of Dixmyth Avenue in 2006. Previously, the street had been located further south, with homes along its northern side. The street’s realignment made Good Samaritan Hospital’s recent expansion possible, along with the construction of the new Group Health facility.

The controversial road realignment eventually took 28 residential properties through the use of eminent domain, and was upheld in court against one hold out, Emma Dimasi. The project was seen as controversial at the time because while city officials claimed the realignment was for safety purposes, others speculated that it was to free up additional land next to the then constrained Good Samaritan Hospital site.

Just one year after the realignment of Dixmyth Avenue, in 2007, Good Samaritan commenced construction on a ten-story patient care tower.

Health care professionals say that the rapid expansion of health facilities is a response to the growing demand placed on the region’s health care system by an aging population. The issue of aging and expanding health care has been the subject of numerous studies highlighting this trend on the national and global scale. Regionally, it has justified the expansion of the hospitals in Uptown’s “Pill Hill”, including expansions at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center and University Hospital in Corryville, and Christ Hospital in Mount Auburn.

The expanding local hospital system is offering improvements in health care services for the region’s aging population, and creating thousands of new high-paying jobs. At the same time, however, it is coming at the expense of historic neighborhoods and entire blocks of residential housing.

Such a tradeoff might be good for city coffers, but it will certainly do nothing to directly help Cincinnati’s ongoing struggle with population loss.

  • Does anyone know whats going to be built after the current building is imploded at MLK and Clifton? That is a highly visible location and I can imagine several groups would be interested in it.

    • I’ve heard rumors of a potential apartment building there, but nothing I’ve heard has been official. Hopefully whatever is built there will serve as an improvement over the current set up, which shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish.

    • I’ll be extremely disappointed if it’s another Cole and Russell monstrosity.

    • Zachary Schunn

      My comment isn’t going through…

      I’ve contacted Tri-Health several times, but all they’ve told me is no decision has been made. My hunch is they will eventually sell to a local apt. developer. I also can’t think of any reason they would have bought that land for parking 2 years ago (was an assortment of apts. and houses), if they didn’t have long-term plans to sell or develop the site.

  • I’d have to say Christ Hospital’s expansion is far worse. The quality of a number buildings that were torn down that were in good shape is astonishing and shocking. What’s even worse is that many of these were just torn down for an overflow lot, something that really isn’t needed.

    Take a look at Building-Cincinnati to see what I’m talking about.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily say that either is definitively “bad” or “good”. I think it really depends on what the goal is.

      For example, if the goal is to increase tax revenues and employment in the core of the region, then this would serve as a positive step towards that end. There are lots of scenarios, but the facts are that the road realignment did make it safer for motorists, it allowed for major expansion of Good Samaritan Hospital and Group Health, and it torn down 28 homes in the process.

    • Dixmyth was really unsafe in its old configuration-I never really liked driving down it if I had to. It kind of feeds into the idea that Cincinnati really has a lot of unique challenges in regards to road geometry versus neighborhood preservation where one has to weigh the pros and cons of the outcomes. In that case I think that the expansion of Dixmyth was overall good, but it was sad to see the houses go – not sure if there were any other options there given the high traffic volumes and tight geometry of the area.

      In Christ Hospital’s case I think there had to be another better way to handle the expansion and I’m wondering if the overflow lots were really needed or if they were just a luxury – a lot of really beautiful 19th century houses that were in pretty good shape could have been saved if it wasn’t for this lot. So few cities have architecture of that era of that quality that I think there should have been compromises to work around it at least.

      I get the feeling though that in uptown people who aren’t very large players don’t have much of a voice, the big players all inked deals decades ago to essentially rob the city of its history in the name of positive economic development (which is a good thing but at what cost?) Its a real shame.

    • I think it’s clear that Christ Hosptial wanted total control of the area in order to eliminate the loitering. The one very nice apartment building from around 1890 is still there and I suspect that they have plans to develop the area close to the former Main St. incline as high end residential.

    • Sounds logical. The views would be spectacular even if it wouldn’t be easy to walk down to OTR.

    • charles ross

      The odd thing about Christ, is that they are the neighborhood “big kid” in the local community meetings, chamber of commerce and volunteer efforts. The Mount Auburn slogan (seen on the hospital-sponsored newsletter, the website and now painted as a wall mural at the top of Sycamore Street) is “Historic Mount auburn”. And then they bring on the bulldozers to flatten dozens of Queen Anne houses to make surface parking. Phew! That’s some preservation for you! Granted, they drove out some drugs n thugs…

    • People continue to talk about gentrification in OTR, yet this sounds like the definition of it. I wonder what happened to the people who lived there? Such a shame, those were some beautiful homes.

    • Btw as a followup it turns out BC has a post on one of these right now:

      A look at the archive reveals even more beautiful ones torn down. Does anyone seriously fight for history in this town?

    • Over-the-Rhine Foundation, Brewery District, Cincinnati Preservation Association, and OTR A.D.O.P.T. to name a few. Cincinnati has far more historic structures than most cities regardless of their size, and astronomically more than their peer cities.

      I too wish that Cincinnati was doing a better job with preserving its historic building stock, but when virtually every building in your city is historic it can be a bit more difficult than when you have just a couple of small districts. Give the region some credit, there are dozens and dozens of well preserved historic areas. The performance hasn’t been perfect, or even close to it, but I would contend that it is better than most.