DOWNEY - After nearly a decade of vacancy, the former Gallatin Medical Center, located at 10720 Paramount Blvd., will be demolished this month as Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital prepares to launch a series of new medical offices on the 6.2-acre site.According to officials at Presbyterian Intercommunity, demolition of the former Gallatin Medical Center will start as early as next week and be completed sometime around the first week of November. Dave Klinger, vice president of facilities and real estate at Presbyterian Intercommunity, said the demolition, which includes all existing buildings on the property, will make way for new medical offices including a multi-story, urgent and primary care facility near the corner of 7th Street and Paramount Boulevard. According to the initial plans, the new medical building will be nearly 20,000 square feet in size, offering an array of services including urgent care, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology. Brian Saeki, community development director for the city of Downey, said Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier, which owns the 297,000-square-foot parcel at 10720 Paramount Blvd., approached the city in August with the preliminary plans. Shortly thereafter, a fence was erected around the abandoned property sparking speculation that a new development was in the works. Purchased by Presbyterian Intercommunity more than 20 years ago, the Gallatin Medical Center has been vacant for nearly eight years since the Gallatin Medical Group dissolved in 2001, leaving only a few physicians inside the offices. When the center formally closed, Presbyterian Intercommunity officials decided it would be cheaper to tear the structures down than to renovate them, but harsh economic conditions and brief negotiations to purchase Downey Regional Medical Center put plans for the site on hold, Klinger said. However, once negotiations between the two hospitals fell apart last May, officials at Presbyterian Intercommunity decided to move forward with plans at the Gallatin site. "We refocused and decided to look and see what else we could do to provide our services to this community," said Klinger. This week, Presbyterian Intercommunity is allowing the Downey Fire Department to use the dilapidated structures for training exercises. Portions of the medical offices near the corner of 7th Street and Paramount Boulevard will be burned and firefighters will be allowed to enter and exit the building as part of a simulation. Demolition of the former Gallatin Medical Center, which is currently undergoing asbestos abatement, will begin next week and is expected to cost nearly $390,000.
********** Published: October 06, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 25