Report Predicts New Washington Adventist Hospital Will Be Economic Boon for Region
Story by Diana McFadden
A leading economist is predicting that the proposed relocation of the Washington Adventist Hospital to White Oak, Md. and its continued use of the hospital’s nearby Takoma Park, Md. campus, will be a catalyst for helping the region meet its full economic potential.
In a newly released study of the economic impacts of the project, Stephen S. Fuller, PhD, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., says the hospital’s importance as a catalyst for further economic development within the Science Corridor can generate significant and continuing economic benefits to the local and state economies.
Some of the economic impacts associated with construction and operation of the White Oak site, and related spending at the Takoma Park campus include:
• Contributing $553.2 million to the state’s economy during construction;
• Construction will generate $115.5 million in new personal earnings to workers residing within Montgomery County and Prince George’s County;
• Post-construction operation would contribute $630.8 million to the state’s economy in 2015;
• Post-construction economic activity related to Washington Adventist would support about 4,700statewide jobs.
The proposed new medical campus is on 48 acres at Plum Orchard Drive and Cherry Hill Road near White Oak, along the border of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. All major traffic and land-use approvals are already in place for the site, which is near the headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
According to the report, Washington Adventist Hospital is the critical next component in creating the necessary conditions within the Science Corridor to achieve its full economic potential. Its position in this development sequence is unique because Washington Adventist Hospital will:
• Help extend the FDA’s economic benefits into the local economy;
• Be a major economic generator that will strengthen the surrounding markets for supporting land uses;
• Generate investors’ confidence within the Science Corridor;
• Enhance the Corridor’s name and business reputation;
• Stimulate significant new investment on adjacent properties
“A relocated Washington Adventist Hospital at White Oak presents a unique strategic opportunity that can help strengthen the region’s competitive position and economic outlook over its long-run future,” Fuller said. “The White Oak location, adjacent to the East County Center for Science and Technology and the LifeSci Village, will establish a major employment center as well as a major economic magnet at the north edge of the Science Corridor.”
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the hospital and the FDA that lays the groundwork for health research and medical innovation is an important step in achieving the synergies that can be focused within the Science Corridor. This in turn will have a positive economic benefit for the local economy.
“As the linkages between the FDA and Washington Adventist become regularized, as employees of both institutions opt to live closer to their place of employment, and as the retail and business base in the surrounding area grows in quality, organizations doing business with the FDA and with each other will find co-locating in proximity to the FDA campus will become increasingly attractive in comparison to more distant locations in the Washington area and nationally,” Fuller writes.
The report goes on to conclude that the location of Washington Adventist Hospital in White Oak has the potential to start a development process that ultimately will represent new private investments totaling more than $5 billion, providing work space for more than 8,000 workers beyond those employed on the FDA campus laying the foundation for a live-work community housing 7,500 residents and enhancing the economic base and quality of life for residents and businesses in an area that has long underperformed its growth potential.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Fuller’s professional assessment brings to light what we and the thousands of our supporters have recognized for years—that this project presents a once–in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Joyce Portela, president of Washington Adventist Hospital. “The relocated Washington Adventist Hospital and the continued use of our Takoma Park campus will continue to keep the hospital viable, keep the region’s healthcare infrastructure strong and improve the health of the economy.”
The Maryland Health Care Commission will begin hearings on Washington Adventist Hospital’s Certificate of Need application on August 8, 2011. A decision is expected later this year. Find more information on the proposal at ExpandedHealthAccess.com.