While earth movers rolled along the construction site, officials lined up with shovels for a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday afternoon at the site of the new St. Luke’s University Health Network hospital in Milford Township in Upper Bucks County.
The event signaled the beginning of a roughly $100 million investment in the 131,000-square-foot building on about 30 acres at the corner of Route 663 and Portzer Road. The hospital complex, which will replace St. Luke’s existing hospital in nearby Quakertown, is anticipated to be open by fall 2019.
“It’s hard to believe St. Luke’s and Quakertown Hospital had been partners since 1995,” said Richard A. Anderson, president and CEO of St. Luke’s University Health Network. Anderson praised the board of Quakertown Hospital and local leadership for their vision and support.
Quakertown Hospital, on Park Avenue in the borough, opened in June 1927, officials said.
“We’re going to be an economic force for growth and development,” Anderson said. The site development and construction alone are estimated to create 150 new jobs over the next 18 months, as well as roughly 200 additional jobs once the new campus opens.
“Twenty years ago, the skeptics thought we’d close the [Quakertown] hospital,” he said.
The Quakertown Hospital project comes at a time of exceptional growth and expansion for St. Luke’s.
In the Greater Lehigh Valley, St. Luke’s has additions at its Anderson campus in Bethlehem Township underway and it has inked a co-owned, acute-care hospital deal with Danville-based Geisinger Health System near Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County.
Dennis Pfleiger, president of St. Luke’s Quakertown, said building the new facility in Milford Township would transform care in Upper Bucks County.
“We’ve invested $100 million since 1995 [in Quakertown], added specialists and subspecialists and enhanced care to the community,” Pfleiger said.
The hospital campus is adjacent to the LifeQuest Nursing Center expansion and Milford Village, a proposed massive mixed-use complex including housing, retail and professional office space and services. The Milford Village development has been roughly 20 years in the making.
Long-awaited improvements along Route 663 between Quakertown and Pennsburg include road widening, new turning lanes and synchronized traffic signals, which will be done concurrently with the St. Luke’s and Milford Village construction.
Route 663 is the main east-west highway to Quakertown and Montgomery County. It also includes the Quakertown toll plaza exit of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.