Samaritan in 'investigative stage' of constructing office building on Watertown's Washington Street

·2 min read

Apr. 28—WATERTOWN — Samaritan Medical Center says it is in the "investigative stage" of constructing a new building near its Washington Street campus.

Samaritan submitted a plan to the city's Planning and Community Development Department indicating that it intended to build a four-story, 52,000-square-foot building at 716, 720 and 728 Washington St. across Woodruff Street from its main campus

According to plans submitted to the city, the building would house outpatient services, including X-ray rooms, exam rooms and procedure rooms. The plans also call for parking at 112 and 116 Woodruff St.

But on Friday, Samaritan released a statement indicating that the discussions are merely "preliminary" and that no Certificate of Need for such a facility has been filed with the state Department of Health and Samaritan's board has not yet approved the plan.

Samaritan also said it will be withdrawing its proposal to the Planning Board.

"Samaritan is pulling our submission from the City of Watertown Planning Board because our intent was to have a conversation about future plans, not seek approval for a new building," the statement says. "We simply wanted feedback and we did receive very valuable feedback. However, there was some miscommunication on both ends. We did not anticipate seeking approval from the City at this time."

Samaritan's statement said that it is consistently looking to meet its patients' and the community's health care needs, which can lead to new construction and renovation of existing space, indicating that adequate space is "often a challenge at healthcare facilities."

"At this time, Samaritan is proactively bringing construction ideas and questions to the City of Watertown Planning Board as there are new City zoning changes that we need to navigate," Samaritan said. "The goal is to understand the zoning changes and how it impacts any possible new construction for the Medical Center."

Samaritan said once there are "more permanent plans," it will return to the Planning Board with its construction team and will notify the community of its plans.

Samaritan already owns 116 Woodruff St., which is presently a gravel parking lot. According to its submission to the Planning Board, it is in the process of acquiring 112 Woodruff St., where a single-family house on the property will be demolished. In total, there will be 59 parking spaces when the project is completed.

Samaritan acquired 716 and 720 Washington St. in July for a total of $550,000. It demolished buildings that were on each lot. It had previously acquired 728 Washington St. and removed an office there.