CHESHIRE — Dr. Niamey Wilson is among the doctors who will soon be seeing patients at Hartford HealthCare’s new two-floor 50,000-square-foot health center at 280 S. Main St. when it opens this fall.
“It’s wonderful to be able to provide this kind of care in the setting we have in Cheshire,” said Wilson, also a town resident.
Wilson, director of Breast Surgery Quality & Research for the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, was referring to the type of medical care some patients assume is only available at large city-based hospitals.
“I know I can provide the highest quality breast care to patients and I don’t have to be in a big city or hospital to do that,” Wilson said.
Work began on the project — previously estimated to cost $15 million — last year.
Hartford HealthCare is the building’s tenant. Cheshire Medical Associates LLC, a subsidiary of Casle Corporation in Avon, is the building’s owner and the entity with which the town has agreed to a seven-year tax abatement agreement.
Under the agreement, which will become effective once town officials sign off on a certificate of occupancy, Cheshire Medical Associates would receive a tax reduction of 50% of the building’s assessed value. Town property records currently list that assessed value as a little more than $6.2 million.
The building appears close to completion. Earlier this week, contractors, hoisted in crane buckets, were performing window installation. Other workers on the ground were paving the entrances from South Main Street to the center’s parking lot.
The property had previously been two vacant lots, which had been home to the Cheshire Cinema and a 7-Eleven convenience store.
Officials anticipate at least 80 employees will work out of the new medical facility.
“To be in a building and facility like this, I’m able to reach more patients than I would have if I was only seeing patients in a hospital location,” Wilson said.
Officials hope to open the new center’s first floor by mid-September. That floor will consist of the Ayer Neuroscience Institute, the David and Rhoda Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, as well as the medical group’s physical rehabilitation and headache centers.
Officials expect the building’s second floor, which will feature primary care and the floating space for other specialists and services, to open as soon as late October or early November.
Gary C. Havican, president of Hartford HealthCare’s central region, expects those services will be fully utilized.
“The demand is pretty significant,” Havican said.
Havican said town leadership has also been welcoming.
“We had many discussions with them. They’re excited about the opportunity,” he said.
Town Councilor Tim Slocum said he is pleased with how the project has developed so far.
“I know the scale of that building was certainly a concern to many in town,” Slocum said, adding that he had shared some of those concerns.
But, he said, the new building does not appear to be an eyesore.
“I’m happy as a resident and as a council person,” Slocum said, adding that the property’s new life as a medical facility is “certainly a good use — better than an abandoned parking lot.”