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City OKs plan for $26.5-million Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center in Brighton

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  July 19, 2013 02:55 PM

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The city’s redevelopment authority board voted unanimously this week to approve plans by the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center to build a two-story, 48,000-square-foot medical facility in Brighton.

The $26.5-million project calls for constructing a LEED-certified clinic that will allow the health center to consolidate several of its existing locations into the new facility.

The building would include a retail pharmacy open to the public, a family medicine clinic, a dental clinic with 10 exam rooms, a laboratory, a behavioral health medical suite, an administrative suite, a vision clinic with four exam rooms and a retail eye glass shop, and a conference area for health center and community use, officials have said.

The project will create an estimated 188 construction jobs, according the Boston Redevelopment Authority board, which approved the plan Tuesday evening.

Officials at the health center told last summer that the new facility will be completed by 2015 on three parcels of state-owned property at 487-495 Western Ave. in Brighton, where a State Police barracks and salt and sand maintenance facility currently operate.

State officials have said the barracks and the salt and sand facility will move to other yet-to-be determined sites.

The 2.2-acre site is bordered by Soldiers Field Road to the north and Western Ave to the south. The abutting property to the west houses the historic Charles River Speedway headquarters building, which the state is exploring ways to preserve and reuse.

Through legislation approved two years ago, the state has agreed to lease the property to the nonprofit health organization for a to-be-determined fair market rate for 50 years, with two 10-year lease extension options, officials have said. The property is worth about $3.5 million, according to the city.

The organization’s existing medical locations in Allston – its main site at 287 Western Ave. and vision center at 300 Western Ave. – would consolidate into the new building, along with its administrative offices at 1380 Soldier’s Field Road, officials have said.

The new facility would allow the health organization to serve an additional 5,500 patients, nearly doubling the roughly 6,000 patients served currently at the two Western Avenue locations, officials have said.

Last spring, to help kick-start funding for the proposed medical building, the health center received a $5 million grant authorized through the federal health care law.

The organization recently sold a half-acre of property it owns in Allston to a developer and plans to use the proceeds from the $1.3-million sale to help cover the new facility’s cost.

Under the leadership of Allston resident Joseph M. Smith, the community health center was established in 1974 at the Charlesview Apartments complex. The organization said it now serves a total of nearly 12,000 patients annually across its five locations.

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