Last updated: February 19. 2013 8:56PM - 649 Views

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Regional health network Commonwealth Health has leased approximately 43,000 square feet inside the Waterfront office complex on North River Street in Plains Township. The owner of the complex said he believes the plan is to eventually convert both buildings in the complex completely into Commonwealth Health space.

The space will be used for offices for physicians, outpatient treatment facilities and company executives. The central business office will move into the 15,000-square-foot lower level of the main complex and occupy the former banquet facility that closed in the last year.

Workers from Feisler Signs of Wilkes-Barre affixed new signs on the complex Thursday and a third will be placed today.

The health needs of the community are growing and changing, said Commonwealth Health Chief Executive Officer Cornelio Catena. At the same time, our doctors and staff are working to share our strengths and resources to match our communities' health needs. This expansion is just the latest example of our commitment to ensuring quality health care across the region.

Announced in February 2012, Commonwealth Health includes eight hospitals -- including Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, First Hospital, Berwick Hospital Center, Special Care Hospital and Tyler Memorial Hospital -- as well as affiliated physician practices InterMountain Medical Group, Physician Health Alliance and Great Valley Cardiology. Ross Spengler, who owns the Waterfront Complex, said the lease agreement benefits him and the health system. He said the system has dedicated space close to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and room to grow and he has a long term lease with a good client.

It's a very nice piece of business, Spengler said.

He noted the health system approached him months ago about the possibility of moving in and he decided it would work so when some existing leases expired they weren't renewed and when some clients opted to leave, their space wasn't leased out. Spengler noted that while leasing to multiple businesses was working and was profitable, the hospital deal is more profitable.

Jim McGuire, a health system spokesman, said the buildings were eyed because of their proximity to Wilkes-Barre General plus the proximity to Route 309 and by extension Interstate 81.

We're a regional health resource, said Catena, so a convenient, central location is important, Catena said.

He said he could not comment on health system plans to eventually be the sole inhabitant of both structures but he said there is room to grow.

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