published Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Erlanger to start at VW next month

Erlanger Health System’s chief said Tuesday that work should start in September on its multimillion-dollar health and wellness facility at the Volkswagen auto assembly plant site.

Erlanger is targeting a June 2011 completion for the 32,000-square-foot facility, said Jim Brexler, its president and CEO.

“It’s on a tight timetable,” said Brexler.

On Tuesday, the city’s Industrial Development Board agreed to amend its lease agreement with VW related to the property on which the automaker’s new plant will sit to accommodate the project Erlanger will build.

Michael St. Charles, an attorney for Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, said the agreement limits use of the nearly 10-acre Erlanger tract to a health care facility.

He said Volkswagen has the right of first refusal in case Erlanger wants to sell the property in the future.

The facility, which will offer primary care, rehabilitative services, a pharmacy, dental and eye care and a fitness center, will serve both VW employees and the surrounding community.

An Erlanger official has said the project will cost about $10 million.

Brexler said that, pending board approval, site work is to start in September on the facility on Volkswagen Drive.

He said Erlanger is selecting a developer for the project.

The Erlanger facility also is to include a 13,000-square-foot child care center. Specialists in orthopedics and gynecology will rotate through the center as needed, and the site will include a helipad to accommodate Life Force helicopters for emergency care, officials said.

VW is building a $1 billion plant at Enterprise South industrial park that’s slated to produce up to 150,000 vehicles annually. The plant is to employ over 2,000 workers when fully operational and start production early next year.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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