Lankenau Hospital Presents Medical Office Building Plan

Posted: February 20, 1986

Lankenau Hospital has presented plans to Lower Merion's zoning hearing board for construction of a 90,000-square-foot medical office building that would be used by physicians on the hospital's medical staff.

Ralph F. Moriarity, Lankenau's president and chief executive officer, said at a meeting Tuesday night that the structure would be built between the hospital's medical science building and another office building.

Increasing numbers of physicians requesting offices on hospital property prompted the request for additional space, Moriarity said.

"We want to make the physicians available to the citizens all day, every day," Moriarity said. "The new building is definitely in the best interests of the community."

Lankenau has a medical office wing for hospital personnel, but Moriarity said that the space was insufficient and that there was a waiting list of physicians who wanted offices. According to Moriarity, 152 doctors have offices on the hospital grounds, and there are 30 on the waiting list.

The new office building would have 13,000 square feet of office space per floor. A ground floor and six stories are proposed.

"Presently," Moriarity said, "Lankenau's policy is to rent space to physicians on a break-even" basis.

Moriarity displayed photographs of a model of the expanded hospital complex that showed the proposed site for the new offices just off the main access road that winds through the property from Lancaster Avenue.

Moriarity said the building would be hidden from view on three sides by other structures and by landscaping on the northern edge of hospital property.

The proposed office is 175 feet from Lankenau's property line.

Board member F.R. Griffin expressed concern whether the hospital could meet township parking requirements with the additional offices.

Moriarity said that though zoning required Lankenau to have 1,170 parking spaces, the hospital had 2,173 spaces. Construction would eliminate 81 spaces, Moriarity said, leaving the hospital with 2,092, or 922 more than required by the township.

The board also questioned the proposed height of the building, which at 76 feet, 6 inches would exceed Lower Merion standards by more than 11 feet. The new office would not, however, be higher than the medical science building in the hospital complex, which was granted a height variance in 1957.

Zoning solicitor Robert S. Ryan was to decide whether the board would limit the height of the new office building. He said that "the exception approved 29 years ago is not binding on the board now."

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