Trying to broaden its reach beyond its inner-city birthplace and Baltimore County, Johns Hopkins Health System is considering sites in Howard County to erect a medical office complex that may be 100,000 square feet or larger.
The proposed complex, which has not yet been approved by Hopkins management, would follow the trend of other medical institutions, expanding their geographic base as they seek more patients.
Hopkins, one of the state's largest health care providers, has looked at about 16 locations in Howard County in search of a 10-acre site, said Sam H. Clark, an attorney in Hopkins' legal department. But he stressed that no decision has been made.
"We're just doing investigative work at this point to present to senior management and the board of trustees," he said.
It will take about two months for a decision to be made, Mr. Clark said. If it is approved, construction might begin early next year, he said.
The size and the cost of the facility, which would provide both primary and specialty care, has not been determined, Mr. Clark said, disputing one estimate that the complex would be 200,000 square feet.
"I think it will be a much smaller project, maybe 100,000 square feet," he said. "It may grow over time."
Two of the sites investigated are a parcel at Route 175 and Snowden River Parkway, owned by the Rouse Co., and the Columbia 100 Office/Residential Park, owned by MDG Companies, Mr. Clark said. Both sites are in Columbia.
While other sites are still under consideration, "It would probably be correct to say they are the leading sites at this point," he said.
The proposal to move to Howard County follows the success of Hopkins' $12 million, 400,000-square-foot Greenspring Station complex in Lutherville, which opened nearly a year ago.
"It has received a very positive response," Mr. Clark said about the hospital's first major facility outside of the city. "A lot of people like the idea of being able to see Hopkins doctors at a convenient location."
But unlike the Greenspring operation, which uses Hopkins doctors or those certified to work at Hopkins, the proposed Howard complex would use local doctors supplemented by Hopkins specialists not available in the county, Mr. Clark said.
"It really is a different concept in Howard County than Greenspring," he said.