New Pines Medical Facility On Route 589 Nearly Done

BERLIN – A year after the start of construction, the first phase of the medical complex adjacent to the north entrance of Ocean Pines is being prepared for opening.

According to developer Palmer Gillis, staff from Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) will begin moving furniture and equipment into the new 20,000-square-foot building next week. The new facility will allow for the consolidation of several existing northern Worcester County PRMC offices and will feature a small café and pharmacy.

“If people will give this facility a chance, it’ll be an awesome amenity for Ocean Pines,” Gillis said. “For the vast majority of the population, this is an unbelievable asset at their doorstep.”

Gillis, who spent years planning the development of the site at the intersection of Route 589 and Cathage Road, started construction of the Delmarva Health Pavilion Ocean Pines in September of 2014. He says the process proceeded as expected and the first building is now ready to be occupied. Gillis says PRMC plans to begin seeing patients at the facility in mid-October.

During the next month, Gillis said he would begin clearing the land to the south of the new building in order to move forward with the next phase of the project.

“We could potentially have as many as five buildings,” he said, adding that he already had approval to begin on the second.

He pointed out that the site was large, at 20 acres, and would retain a significant amount of its existing trees even with the construction of more buildings.

“A third of the site will remain forest area,” he said.

Though some Ocean Pines residents have expressed concern about the impact the project will have on area traffic, Gillis says his company is accustomed to developing near residential locations.

“This is not the first time we’ve been contiguous to a neighborhood,” he said, adding that Gillis Gilkerson had done similar projects in Salisbury and Easton.

He said it was proven that medical offices made good transitions between highway and residential areas. That, he explained, was because they were typically used during the day when residents were at work.

“It does not have the impact of a shopping center,” he said. “It operates in conjunction with neighborhoods.”

The property will feature right-in, right-out access to Route 589.

“While the main entrance to the medical facility is actually on Cathage Road, the developer was required to construct the right-in/right-out and deceleration lane along MD 589,” said David Buck, a State Highway Administration spokesman. “Motorists will not be able to turn left out of Cathage Road or make a left from MD 589 into the new development.”

Some Pines residents say that because motorists leaving the facility won’t be able to go toward Ocean City on Route 589, they’ll go into Ocean Pines to make a U-turn. Gillis agreed that could occur.

“That may happen,” he said. “Unfortunately, I can’t help that.”

He added that he thought the fact the new facility would improve residents’ access to healthcare was more important.

“The good far outweighs the bad, if there is a bad, which I don’t think there is,” Gillis said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.