Mercy Hospital in Portland is more than halfway toward its goal of raising $20 million to help build a new hospital along the Fore River.

Hospital President Charlie Therrien said Thursday that Mercy has surpassed the $10 million mark in its capital campaign for a new hospital at its existing Fore River medical campus. Major donations have included $5 million from the Mercy Endowment Foundation and $2.8 million from the family of the late Dr. Harry Davis, Mercy’s first and longtime chief of pediatrics.

“It’s going very well, and we’re very pleased,” Therrien said. “The response has been very humbling.”

The donations so far keep Mercy on track with its plans to consolidate operations at the Fore River site, where it already has a 151,000-square-foot building. Plans call for a second building, with about 108,000 square feet, to be added by 2021 and for the full hospital to relocate at that point.

“There’s approximately another year of regulatory approval, additional planning and background work,” Therrien said. “Once the shovel in the ground begins, it’s roughly a two-year project, so we’re roughly three years out from the time when there would be a grand opening type of thing.”

Mercy is owned and operated by Northern Light Health, formerly known as Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems.

Therrien said Mercy plans to submit its application in December for a certificate of need for the new hospital, a key precursor to relocating from its current campus on State Street in downtown Portland to the Fore River Parkway campus.

Mercy plans to sell the State Street property prior to relocating, with funds from the sale helping to pay for the new building on the Fore River site, which is expected to cost about $75 million. The existing building at the Fore River site, which was completed in 2008 and now houses some hospital operations, cost roughly $87 million.

The hospital has said it wants to ensure that the buyer of the State Street campus uses it for a purpose that fits in with its primarily residential neighborhood. Real estate brokers speculate that the property will most likely be redeveloped into some sort of housing.

Therrien has estimated that the State Street property could fetch up to $20 million on the open market. He said it’s possible the hospital could sell the property and then lease it back from the buyer until it is ready to move operations to the Fore River site in 2021.

“We can’t sell it and go to the local Holiday Inn until we complete the (Fore River) project,” he said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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