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DOCTORS EYE AMES SITE FOR OFFICE SPACE

An area medical group affiliated with WCA Hospital is sizing up the former Ames department store site at Brooklyn Square as a possible new home.

Jamestown Area Medical Associates (JAMA) is growing and running out of space at its current address, 31 Sherman St., which is across the street from the hospital.

Glen Chase, chief executive officer for JAMA, noted that the Ames building is one of several options.

The group wants "what would be most cost-beneficial for us, to get an existing building or to do a stand-alone or (construct) a brand-new building ourselves," he explained.

Chase said the medical group is studying how much it would cost to refit the building. He also noted the building is attractive in several ways.

"It has very attractive parking, and the traffic in Brooklyn Square there is phenomenal, so it's a good location," said Chase, adding that JAMA would not be able to take on a project of this size alone.

Currently, Chase said, there are 23 health care providers at 31 Sherman, and the number has been growing.

Meanwhile, officials of WCA Hospital said Wednesday they are willing to work with JAMA to meet its space needs.

Spokeswoman Patricia Eckwahl said the hospital has more than 140 physicians on staff, and not all lease space in the building where Jamestown Area Medical Associates is located.

"We support all our physicians in their efforts to meet the growing health care needs of this community, and, of course, their efforts to invest in the community," Eckwahl said. "Some of our physicians chose to rent space from us, and others chose to own their own buildings. We discuss those things with them on an ongoing basis."

She added that the hospital over the past few years has expanded physician office space, including a new building at 17 Sherman St. behind the hospital.

Chase said there is no deadline on Jamestown Area Medical Associates to make a decision on the Ames site.

Meanwhile, Alex Scott of Center Associates Realty in Pittsburgh, which is selling the Ames property, said he has fielded several telephone inquiries about the building, which is more than 80,000 square feet.

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