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Posted on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor's VA hospital seeking 26,000 square feet for research center

By Nathan Bomey

The Veterans Affairs hospital in Ann Arbor plans to move a 150-person research division out of its facility, clearing room for more clinical space.

The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, part of the federal government's Department of Veteran Affairs, plans to relocate its Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence to space somewhere near its medical center on Fuller Road.


The Veterans Affairs hospital in Ann Arbor is located on Fuller Road.

Photo courtesy of VA Hospital

The government is seeking a five-year lease for about 26,000 square feet of contiguous space, according to a listing posted on its website.

The listing represents a significant opportunity for local property owners and brokers because the federal government is considered a premier tenant.

The move would consolidate operations that are currently separated into four locations, said.

Eve Kerr, director of the hospital's Center for Clinical Management Research and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

"It's an interdisciplinary kind of science that we do, so having people in many different locations is not ideal," Kerr said. "Bringing people back together in one place will enhance our efforts."

Derek Atkinson, an Ann Arbor-based VA spokesman, said the hospital is "trying to create more clinical space."

"We've been leasing property off site and putting our administrative folks who don't need to be face to face with veterans off site where they can do their job just as effectively," Atkinson said. "That way we can free up more space here so that veterans can be seen for specialty care and the different services we offer."

The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System serves more than 150,000 veterans living in a 15-county area in Michigan and northwest Ohio. The hospital, which has 101 acute care beds and 46 nursing home beds, and community living center treated nearly 6,000 patients for inpatient stays and recorded about 455,000 outpatient visits in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The Washington headquarters of the VA, working with a brokerage firm in Washington, is handling the property search.

The government is seeking space on one or two floors, at least 190 parking spaces and a 5-year lease that includes five 1-year options. The VA wants to be near public transportation and "commercial services" such as restaurants and banks.

The Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence researches ways improve health care delivery to veterans with an emphasis on patients with chronic diseases, mental health conditions and recovery complications.

Kerr said she envisions gradual growth for the center. The center is seeking space that would allow for personnel growth of 10 to 15 percent over the next five years. The center gets about $13 to $16 million a year from grant funding, she said.

"Our goal is to continue to be successful with continued collaboration with one another, to seek additional funding and that will mean additional investors and additional staff," she said.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


a2 Brute?

Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

By law the VA needs to put out the contract for competitive bids. The Pfizer property appears to be the one of very few locations adequate for the stated requirements. @Myopinion: If leased property from the UofM is taxable, who or what determines the tax rate? The UofM definitely should not be allowed to lease the space without being taxed?


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

Re MyOpinion. Why should the VA lease from the UofM on tax free land, when there are Developers who actually pay taxes that would love to have the VA as a Tenant.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

What about for a parking garage? Just sayin'.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

They should conduct state of the art research in a parking garage? I'm missing something.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

The VA is very close to the much-maligned proposed Fuller parking structure.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

Seems like this research unit could lease from the Pfizer property the UM now owns. Plenty of lab space there; plenty of other scientists working there; and in the same general location (NE Ann Arbor).


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

Thanks MyOpinion for a reasoned, well-informed response.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

Actually, if this is a for-profit entity, UM's lease of the space will taxable.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

Nothing like giving more money to the U. How about the VA lease space that is privately owned and taxable?


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

Wonder how many primates, cats, dogs, pigs, sheep will be tortured and destroyed in the pursuit of excellence here now also?


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

Sometimes medical research on animals save millions of lives.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

Wrong kind of health research. HSR&D does research healthcare quality and access (i.e. Patient centered medical homes, health promotion interventions, provider/patient interaction, etc.). While there is a department at the VA engaged in clinical testing on animals this is not it. I have no problem with your position, you are just directing your outrage at the wrong target.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 12:58 p.m.

Did someone at some in sensitive hospital forget to tell him about "Penny Medical". Also If you aren't employed and have no means of paying for treatment the hospital will file the form and get reimbursed by medicaid.