By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NORWOOD - A proposed heart hospital for Greater Cincinnati took a step closer to reality Monday when a site plan won approval from the Norwood planning commission.
The $50 million to $60 million heart hospital - first announced last month - envisions a four-story hospital building and at least one four-story medical office building near the northwest corner of Montgomery Road as it crosses over the Norwood Lateral.
The site plan for the 22-acre development, which also includes a new Kroger store and space for other medical offices, is expected to come up for a city council vote in October.
If approved, construction could begin as soon as November with the hospital open by early 2005. Whether work begins that quickly, however, depends on other factors, including whether the heart hospital's sponsors complete enough of their own financing and whether the city and the developers can agree on yet-to-be-specified tax incentives to help pay for a parking garage and environmental clean-up.
The heart hospital is a joint venture between the Ohio Heart Health Center, the area's biggest cardiac physician group, and Deaconess Associations Inc., which runs Deaconess Hospital and a variety of retirement homes.
The proposal drew few comments at Monday's planning commission meeting.
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