Pen Bay eyes Rockland urgent care clinic

By Stephen Betts | Mar 18, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Pen Bay Medical Center is looking at opening an urgent care clinic in part of the former J.C. Penney space in Rockland.

Rockland — Pen Bay Medical Center is studying the feasibility of opening an urgent care clinic in part of the space formerly used by J.C. Penney.

Plans for the Pen Bay Urgent Care Center were submitted Wednesday, March 13, to the Maine Fire Marshal's Office for its review.

Coastal Healthcare Alliance President Mark Fourre said March 15 that an architect was hired to help determine the cost and feasibility of using the former J.C. Penney space. Coastal Healthcare oversees Pen Bay Medical Center and other regional health care operations.

The proposed project has not received approval from the Coastal Healthcare board, and there remain several issues that would need to be resolved before the plan could move forward, Fourre said.

There is a real chance the project could not go forward, he said.

There is strong support for a walk-in clinic in Rockland. Eighty-four percent of the 50 people who attended a Feb. 16 meeting of Rockland Heart & Soul listed a walk-in clinic as a priority for the community.

MaineHealth, the parent corporation of Coastal Healthcare, has urgent care centers in Portland and Boothbay Harbor, according to its website.

According to the website, a walk-in clinic "is a good place to get quick access to health care when you need it. Walk-in clinics also can be called urgent care clinics. Patients can see a doctor and get care for many conditions."

The urgent care centers also offer extended hours and weekend hours.

The former J.C. Penney space is at 75 Maverick St. in the Rockland Plaza Shopping Center. The entire space is about 33,000 square feet.

Planet Fitness has said it plans to occupy nearly 12,000 square feet of that space. The company submitted formal plans to the Rockland Code Enforcement Office last week. The company has not yet said when it plans to open the fitness center.

Planet Fitness would be located on the west side of the former J.C. Penney space, the left side when facing the shopping center from Maverick Street.

J.C. Penney closed in July 2017.

The property is owned by Rockland Plaza Realty Corp. of Chestnut Hill, Mass., which has owned it since the shopping center was constructed in 1961.

Comments (11)
Posted by: Cathy Baker | Mar 19, 2019 08:29

To Sandra Schramm's concern:  I've been a volunteer at the Knox Co. Health Clinic for almost 20 yrs., since its founding.   We thought we'd be out of business long ago, but no -- more patients all the time.  We would LOVE to have an urgent care clinic that accepts insurance (incl. MaineCare) and is open more than 3 hrs. a week!  The "free clinic" spends a lot of time and money keeping its doors open, and it definitely isn't a walk-in service.  I am glad to be a volunteer there, and truly grateful that my neighbors without access to care have someone looking out for them.  Our founders, Dr. Paul and Jeanne Klainer, would like to retire some day, and maybe this will be their ticket.

Posted by: Shawn Levasseur | Mar 19, 2019 08:07

As far as tax concerns... It means the Plaza owners will be better able to pay the real estate taxes with another renter in there.

Not having ever lived in an area with such a clinic, I have no sure knowledge as to how beneficial to health care it would be, but it sounds like it'll help with after-hours medical care, likely being more convenient than committing to four hours or more spent in the ER.

Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Mar 18, 2019 20:29

It seems this is something the area has needed for some time. How it would affect the care being given at the Medical Arts bldg. on White Street would be of concern to me. I do believe they offer different services and there would be no impact.  The location is good for after hours. I hope those interested in this becoming reality can help this plan along by writing letters or contacting the hospital board, local legislators and community leaders. Personally, I would like to see the facility offer morning blood draws as it can be very time consuming at PBMC. PBMC offers superb ER care but they too get very congested at times. I recently had to use an Urgent Care facility in FL and while the ER was close by I chose the Urgent Care and it was most efficient. Hopefully this is found to be feasible.

Posted by: Bruce Hodsdon | Mar 18, 2019 19:20

How about a "full service" opiod treatment  center?  Medicare expansion could help on costs.

Posted by: Jeff Grinnell | Mar 18, 2019 18:31

Its about time...this has been needed for a VERY long time. This will take a tremendous load off the ER and still alow quick access for run of the mill issues. If it is a non profit and can't tax is NEEDED. Besides the ambulance billing fees will make up for any tax lost because THERE WILL BE transports..for things like indigestion that is really a MI..



Posted by: Sam Charlton | Mar 18, 2019 11:55

The Coastal Maine Clinic at 32 Birch Street is a privately run Nurse Practitioner facility. There are no Urgent/Quick care clinics which participate with major insurance companies. The closest major insurance participating facilities are either Brunswick or Augusta. I look forward to a hospital owned facility which could offer hours which extend into evening and weekends and allow me to go with my insurance co-pay.

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Mar 18, 2019 11:47

This is an understandable concern but leasing space to a non-profit will not affect the tax status of the property.

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Mar 18, 2019 11:47

There would be no cost to Rockland. This is privately-owned property of which a section may be leased to a non-profit organization. The property will remain taxable.

Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Mar 18, 2019 10:41

What would the cost to Rockland be? Would Rockland Plaza Realty Corp continue to pay full property tax or would there be an exemption because it was renting to a non-profit? Aren't urgent care facilities usually placed on hospital properties separate from emergency rooms?

Posted by: Gregory P Andrews | Mar 18, 2019 08:17

Is there not an urgent care at the end of Birch St.?

Posted by: Lisbeth A Whitney | Mar 18, 2019 07:23

I think this would be a benefit to the area.


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