By Douglas Moser
---- — ANDOVER — The town and a prominent developer are ready to begin construction on a new urgent and specialized care facility on Lowell Street in conjunction with two medical providers.
Sal Lupoli, owner of Lupoli Companies, will begin construction soon on a 30,000-square-foot three-story building that will house primary care doctors, urgent care space and specialized medical services. Lawrence General Hospital and Pentucket Medical are collaborating and will be the building’s two tenants.
The idea behind the new Andover Medical Center and ExpressCare is to provide specialized medical treatments locally.
“This new center is only one way we are enhancing local access to high quality, affordable health care, and eliminating the need for patients and families to travel into Boston for key specialty services,” said Dianne J. Anderson, President and CEO of Lawrence General Hospital.
Lupoli, whose company owns the Sal’s Pizza and Salvatore’s restaurant chains and the Riverwalk complex in Lawrence, said the two-year, roughly $16 million project should be completed by the end of this year and ultimately will create between 75 and 100 local jobs.
“The building is fully occupied at Day One,” he said.
The building, which was designed by Lavallee Brensinger Architects of Manchester, N.H., will rise on just under a quarter acre at 321 Lowell St. in front of the Rolling Green Golf Course and across from the Internal Revenue Service building. It will overlook Interstate 93, and Lupoli said the visibility, and the glass-and-masonry design, will be one of its greatest assets.
“It’s going to be a state-of-the-art facility,” he said.
Lawrence General and Pentucket, which leases space at Lupoli’s Riverwalk complex on Merrimack Street in Lawrence, said in a joint statement yesterday that they want to offer specialized care services so patients can stay local for more care, and to provide a convenient location for Andover and North Andover residents.
“Access to care that is timely and convenient is an important part of medicine’s future,” said Pentucket Medical President Thomas L. Fazio, MD. “Offering the appropriate mix of health care services in a setting close to home is an important step into this future. Pentucket Medical has a long-standing relationship with Lawrence General, and this provides a sound basis for this exciting evolution.”
The building will be an expansion for both Lawrence General and Pentucket, adding new services to the region, as opposed to finding a new facility for existing staff and services. Both providers are evaluating specifically what kinds of services will fill the building.
Lupoli said the particulars of the plot of land drew out the process. But town officials have been helpful and now he is confident construction can begin as soon as weather permits.
Andover town officials said they are excited about the new building and services. “The Board of Selectmen has taken it upon themselves to encourage new business in Andover with the Economic Development Council,” said Select Board Chairman Paul Salafia. “We’re doing everything we can to encourage new business into town.”
Salafia said Lupoli has agreed to contribute mitigation funds for traffic management on a road already congested with traffic from the interstate and the IRS and Raytheon buildings.
Lupoli, best known for his chain of pizzerias, renovated a complex of old mill buildings totaling 2.3 million square feet of space on 60-plus acres where local iconic manufacturers such as Pacific Mill and Wood Mill once produced uniforms for American troops, on Merrimack Street into residential and commercial space starting in 2003.
“Ten years ago, it was a symbol of blight. Ten years later its a symbol of prosperity in the Merrimack Valley,” he said.
Riverwalk is 98 percent occupied, with 200 tenants that include several state agencies, Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Northern Essex Community College, a Salvatore’s restaurant and the headquarters of his chain of pizza parlors. In all, 3,500 people now work at the complex.
Lupoli Companies also renovated a building on Park Street, formerly the children’s clothing store The Rugged Bear, into a Salvatore’s, an Italian restaurant with a broader menu.
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