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Bayhealth grows in Blue Hen Corporate Center

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The Blue Hen Corporate Center is currently 40% occupied. Bayhealth’s expansion will nearly double the current occupied space alone. | DBT FILE PHOTO

DOVER — Bayhealth today announced it has entered into an agreement to buy more space in the Blue Hen Corporate Center in Dover, paving the way for a $39.5 million neighborhood specialty clinic.

Bayhealth has an orthopedic and information technology office in the corporate center on 655 S. Bay Road, and the deal will grow the Kent County health care system’s footprint by 185,000 square feet. The sale is expected to close at the end of this year, with renovations starting in 2022.

Bayhealth’s expansion would also double the existing occupancy rate of the Blue Hen Corporate Center in itself.

“We are excited about the ability to repurpose this landmark facility by reimagining it as a central location for health care services to benefit the people of Kent County,” Bayhealth President and CEO Terry Murphy said. “This acquisition will give us the room to further grow our organization and the services we offer in fulfilling our ongoing mission to strengthen the health of our community.”

Earlier this year, Bayhealth secured $103 million in Kent and Sussex County bonds for multiple projects, including $39.5 million for “Dover Medical Neighborhood specialty clinical services and administration space.” 

Bayhealth is finalizing the design for the clinical offerings to be provided at this latest location, with the goal of improved access and one-stop availability of services in mind. The facility is slated to open in 2023.

The announcement marks Bayhealth’s second investment in the office park, as the Kent County health care system first rented the space to relocate its IT services from its former Milford hospital in 2003.

The original building was constructed in 1968 as the Blue Hen Mall. At the time, it was Kent County’s most popular shopping destination right off Route 1, until the Dover Mall opened in 1982 and began to draw business to Route 13. Rebranded as a corporate center in 1998, it later drew Aetna’s corporate offices and a Bank of America call center. Both companies left by 2009.

Pettinaro bought the Blue Hen Corporate Center in 2008 for a reported $17.4 million and renovated the parking lot and the building. To date, the center has leased or sold 193,000 square feet of the 479,533 square-foot building, marking a 40% occupancy rate.

Existing tenants include Bayada Nurses, FMC Dialysis, the Wilmington VA Medical Center, the U.S. Social Security Administration and several state offices.

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