Mercy Update on Fore River; Announces Generous Donation


The Future of Mercy State Street Hospital, was One of the Topics for Discussion at the May 16 Community Conversation.

Charlie Therrien, President of Mercy Hospital, led a community conversation on May 16, 2018 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Cathedral, State Street, in which he told the sixty (60) or so attending the status of plans – the relocation of Mercy State Street to the Fore River campus.  Therrien also answered questions from those attending.

Therrien said that in the future, there will be a shift to out patient care rather than on in patient care.  If the original plans to build before the recent recession had occurred, Mercy may have overbuilt.

The relatively new Mercy Fore River, 175 Fore River Parkway, is currently consisted of 150,000 st. ft in size.  The Mercy State Street campus is 250,000 sq. ft, although several floors of the building are not being used currently.  In order to consolidate, the Fore River Mercy will need to build a 100,000 sq. ft. addition.

The clinical programs that will be housed at Mercy Fore River will determine building design.  The Hospital’s Certificate of Need will be filed with the State this year.  When approved, construction will start and will take at least three (3) years to complete.  However, Mercy will not vacate State Street for at least three (3) years and it is unknown what will happen with the State Street property at this time.  But Mercy does need money from the proceeds of the sale of the State Street property in order to build the Fore River facility.

Therrien is leaning toward a Request for Proposal process that would “cast a wide net” in terms of envisioned use of the State Street properby by potential buyers. There is currently an on-going capital campaign program in a “quiet phase.” Mercy does want to maintain a presence in the West End, but it needs to figure out what that presence will be.   (There is parking for roughly fifty (50) vehicles on the hospital campus proper and for about one hundred (100) more in the big visitors’ parking lot.)  Mercy does not plan to go to a real estate broker right now at least.  It is not excluding anyone, but hopes for the best price and what’s best for the community.  Mercy will not abandon its core services.

In response to questions from the attendees, it was stated that the current plan is to sell the entire property as one package; the parking lot, hospital and the house next to it on State Street used for offices.   Perhaps Mercy’s Urgent Care Unit (currently at Fore River) will remain on the West End and the ER will move to Fore River.  It was also stated that the city of Portland has expressed interest in the parking lot.

Two days ago, Mercy announced a $2.75 million capital campaign commitment from the family of Dr. Harry E. Davis, Mercy’s first and long-time chair of pediatrics.  Dr. Davis’s daughter, Patricia Davis Klingenstein, together with her husband John and their children, have supported many efforts to improve healthcare in Maine.  The Klingenstein gift is especially personal and honors Portland’s beloved and well-known “Dr. Harry.”

Founded in 1918 by the Sisters of Mercy to heal those affected by the Spanish flu pandemic and to care for the city’s poor and disadvantaged, Mercy has served as greater Portland’s community hospital for one hundred (100) years.  A ceremony on Monday was the first in a series of events that will be planned throughout the year to commemorate Mercy’s centeniatal and to celebrate the hospital’s next century of care.

The Klingenstein family’s campaign gift is the largest one of its kind in Mercy’s history.  In recognition of their contribution, an existing wing at Mercy Fore River has been named in honor of Dr. Harry E. Davis.  He served as chief of pediatrics from 1943 until his death in 1963,

For more background information, please visit post dated April 30, 2018 herein.