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MassDevelopment Issues $45 Million in Low-Interest, Tax-Exempt Financing to Baystate Medical Center Expansion Project

November 15, 2011 : The Republican, by Peter Goonan

SPRINGFIELD – MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, has issued $45 million in low-interest, tax-exempt financing for Baystate Medical Center's ongoing, $296 million “Hospital of the Future” project.

The financing includes a $25 million tax-exempt bond to help finish and equip a new, expanded emergency department and support areas, according to MassDevelopment and Baystate Health officials.

The quasi-public authority also issued a $20 million tax-exempt lease, to help the hospital obtain medical and non-medical equipment, including equipment for patient care and monitoring, imaging, information technology and surgical equipment, officials said.

Jane S. Albert, a spokeswoman for Baystate Health, said the low interest financing carries an estimated savings of $500,000 annually. The favorable financing is among factors that are helping to move the project forward, she said.

Marty Jones, MassDevelopment’s president and chief executive officer, praised Baystate Health as having the second-busiest emergency departments in the state and as the largest private employer in the Springfield area.

“Baystate Medical Center plays a most significant role in both the physical and economic health of Massachusetts,” Jones said in a prepared release. “This low-cost financing will contribute to the multiple phases of the ‘Hospital of the Future’ project which will provide state-of-the-art care to Baystate’s many patients.”

“We appreciate MassDevelopment’s efforts to facilitate this low cost tax-exempt financing in a very timely and efficient manner,” said Dennis W. Chalke, chief financial officer of Baystate Health. “This financing package supports our commitment to the community to be stewards of our financial resources and complete this project on time and on budget.”

JP Morgan Chase Bank purchased the bond and Bank of America Public Capital Corp., purchased the lease.

The first phase of the hospital’s 640,000-square foot expansion project is scheduled for completion in March, including the new Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center as its centerpiece.

The Davis center will include six surgical and endovascular suites and 32 cardiovascular critical-care rooms.

The emergency department is also under construction, which was permitted by the state to proceed ahead of its original 2015 construction timetable, as petitioned by the hospital. The emergency department is scheduled for completion by late 2012, and will be 70,000 square feet, or more than three times the size of the existing emergency room.

The expansion project began in 2008, and will also feature slightly curved hallways, more natural lighting, a five-story glass-encased elevator tower, a landscaped rooftop green space for patients and visitors and single-patient rooms.

MassDevelopment’s mission is to work with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions and communities to stimulate economic growth, according to the agency.

© Copyright 2011 The Republican.