AUGUSTA — A new ConvenientMD Urgent Care medical facility is expected to open in the corner of the Turnpike Mall’s parking lot as soon as this summer.

The Augusta Planning Board unanimously approved a proposal from the owners of the Turnpike Mall, which currently has a number of vacancies, for the new standalone building. The building will be built in the Western Avenue and Whitten Road corner of the mall’s now largely barren parking lot.

At least initially the building will remain owned by the mall’s owners and be leased to ConvenientMD Urgent Care, which will offer a range of medical care for people with illnesses and injuries.

The project is expected to add a new sidewalk into the site from an existing one on Western Avenue, and curbing and landscaping to the parking lot.

“To have this safe sidewalk connection, out of the driving route, is pretty important,” said City Planner Betsy Poulin. “Planning is very excited about the additional sidewalks and landscaping, because we think it’ll make a big difference out there. Both for the aesthetics and the function of the site.”

Travis Letellier, an engineer from Northeast Civil Solutions working on the project, said they will seek a building permit and begin construction as soon as it is granted. They are targeting summer, or perhaps fall, as an opening date for the walk-in clinic.

“Thank you for the support of our application, we look forward to bringing this facility online as soon as possible,” said Charlie Mannino, of mall-owner SEP Augusta LLC, which bought the Turnpike Mall in 2019.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based ConvenientMD has 26 locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The health care provider’s clinics often have on-site capabilities including X-ray, lab services, minor procedures, EKGs and IV fluid. They provide treatment for many illnesses and injuries, and also offer school, sports camp and occupational physicals and screenings, as well as COVID-19 evaluation and testing, and take walk-in customers.

Current urgent medical care facilities in Augusta include MaineGeneral’s Express Care at 15 Enterprise Drive, which is off Civic Center Drive, and Concentra Medical Centers at 219 Capitol St.

Planning Board Chairperson Alison Nichols said the clinic could be a welcome addition to that area of the city.

“I think that location is really great,” she said.

The 5,452 square-foot, single-story building will have large signs mounted on two of its exterior walls, which Poulin said are necessary to be visible on the site, which sits higher than the surrounding roadways.

The only public comment on the proposal during Tuesday night’s online-only board meeting was from Alec Rogers, owner of the nearby Quality Inn and Suites Maine Evergreen Hotel and a board member of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce. He welcomed the clinic to Augusta, and asked when it would be built and open.

The city also received an email from Jennifer Kent, executive director of Maine Education Association Benefits Trust, which provides health insurance to school employees in Maine. She expressed support for ConvenientMD to come to Augusta because she said in the trust’s experience the company has provided great access to high-quality medical care. Kent said the company has the ability to treat more than 70% of patients that typically need to go to an emergency department of a hospital to get treatment.

The clinic, according to application materials filed with the city, is expected to have four doctors and a total of nine employees working there. It is expected to cost about $3.56 million to build.

A traffic study indicated it will generate 12 “trips” to the clinic at peak commuting hour, and a total of 131 trips a day on weekdays.

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