Pinehurst Medical and Pinehurst Surgical, which have long had a footprint in Pinehurst near Firsthealth’s Moore Regional Hospital, have set their sights on developing a new 10.5-acre medical office campus in Southern Pines.
Preliminary plans call for two 40,000-square-foot buildings within the 116.7-acre Morganton Park North development at Morganton and Brucewood roads.
On Thursday, the Southern Pines Planning Board offered a unanimous recommendation following a quasi-judicial public hearing.
As presented, the new medical buildings would front Morganton Road and Brucewood Road, with parking to the rear. The primary entrance would be located on an extension of South Carlisle Street, near the Legends at Morganton Park apartments off Brucewood Road, with a secondary right-in/right-out access drive directly on West Morganton Road.
A traffic impact analysis completed by Kimley Horn indicated the proposed medical campus would generate up to 2,986 vehicle trips on weekdays.
Bob Koontz of Koontz Jones Design presented the plans on behalf of Pinehurst Medical Group. He said the architectural design, height and positioning for the buildings would be similar to the mixed-use Pavilion building on the adjacent corner lot. That building holds a number of professional offices and the Char Bar 7 and Famous Toastery restaurants.
The proposed site is also located directly across Brucewood Road from the future 22,600-square foot Sandhills Pediatrics facility town leaders approved in January, and near the new Southern Pines Elementary School currently under construction.
New Site, New Town, New Proposal
Morganton Park is a massive planned development that encompasses land on both sides of Morganton Road in Southern Pines.
In 2013, the Town Council approved a master plan for the 116-acre Morganton Park North development, plus 260,800 square feet of retail and commercial space across the road at Morganton Park South. The shopping center is anchored by Lowes Foods, which opened in July 2016.
But this quickly growing commercial corridor was not the first choice of location when Pinehurst Medical Clinic went looking for a place to expand its services.
Founded 65 years ago, Pinehurst Medical provides services at 17 locations — mostly in Moore County — in diverse specialties including cardiology, gastroenterology, dermatology and family medicine.
Last year, the practice submitted an application to the village of Pinehurst to rezone land at the corner of McCaskill Road and Rattlesnake Trail for a two-story 32,400-square-foot specialty clinic.
Despite a recommendation from the village’s Planning and Zoning Board, the proposal ran into opposition at the Village Council’s public hearing held in November 2018.
Rezoning opponents argued that the site was not an appropriate location for a large medical office building, which would have sat opposite of the Greens at Arboretum apartments, and expressed concern about increased traffic. The village’s current zoning would permit up to a 35,000-square-foot building on the site with offices and retail, but not medical uses.
Pinehurst Medical eventually withdrew its request before the village could act. It offered no reason for its decision.
However, the new proposal presented to the Southern Pines Planning Board is for a larger facility and combines the expansion interests from Pinehurst Surgical.
Since 1946, Pinehurst Surgical has been providing multi-specialty surgical services to Moore County. Today, Pinehurst Surgical has expanded their services to the surrounding counties of Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Richmond, and Scotland.
“Pinehurst Surgical Clinic is proud to be one of the largest, multi-specialty, independently owned surgical groups in the country and is excited and committed to growing and expanding its services in Southern Pines and surrounding areas,” said Dr. Russell Stokes, plastic surgeon.
Koontz said they are still in the early planning stages and the final design could be one building or two buildings, but the overall size would be limited to 80,000 square feet.
The plan also requires an increase in the number of parking spaces permitted to what would be the maximum number of spaces per the town’s Unified Development Ordinance.
“It is very important for medical offices to provide ample and convenient parking for their patients,” Koontz said, noting that Pinehurst Medical Clinic has firsthand experience with this issue at its Heather Glen facility in Pinehurst. The practice had to build more parking about a year ago for that growing facility just off U.S. 15-501.