Lexington's sprawling Hamburg development is poised to leap across Interstate 75, where Central Baptist Hospital is planning a major project.
Almost 600 acres east of I-75 are open for development. It is the last big segment of the former horse farm to be developed; the rest is west of I-75.
The first visible sign is the extension of Polo Club Boulevard, now under construction, that will connect Man o' War Boulevard and Winchester Road.
Excavation is completed for the road bed. "As soon as we get four clear days, it's going to get paved," said Patrick Madden, spokesman for his family, which owns the land.
The extension of Polo Club Boulevard was determined by the Planning Commission to be necessary for the development of Hamburg east of the interstate, said Bill Sallee, manager of the city's division of planning.
The land was brought inside the Urban Service Boundary — the line around the city beyond which urban development is not permitted — in 1996.
"This is the last big chunk of Hamburg to be developed," Sallee said.
The 130 acres owned by Central Baptist is the only portion of the 570-acre tract that has been rezoned, he said. The rest of the land remains zoned for agriculture.
Other than the hospital, Madden said he does not have immediate plans for this tract.
Of the 1,100 acres of Hamburg on the west side of the interstate, probably half to three-quarters has been developed, Madden said.
All the retail has been developed and most of the commercial. "We still have some office lots available, but all the land has been prepared," he said.
A large piece around the Tuscany and Summerfield subdivisions is zoned residential and has not been developed.
Of all Madden's development projects, he said he was "most excited" about the proposed Central Baptist facility "because of the jobs it will create and the uniqueness of" the medical campus.
"It's going to be a gem in all of Central Kentucky," he said. "It will draw people from all around."
Late in 2006, Central Baptist announced it would close its hospital on Nicholasville Road and build a new medical campus at Hamburg that would include separate buildings to house heart and vascular treatments, cancer and research, pediatrics and other services.
Also on the campus would be a hotel, pharmacy and restaurants for the convenience of patients, their families and hospital staff.
Later, Bill Sisson, chief executive officer of Central Baptist, said the hospital would not close its Nicholasville Road facility, but provide services at both locations.
Exactly what will be at Hamburg has not been decided, said hospital spokeswoman Ruth Ann Childers. "So many things have changed since we announced the purchase of the property," she said.
"The economy has changed. The future of health care has changed. Mr. Sisson's vision has really expanded to include preventive care and wellness care."
And Central Baptist is expanding its satellite facilities.
An outpatient diagnostic center at Brannon Crossing in Jessamine County proved so popular, a second building is under construction to house Baptist Urgent Care.
It will offer treatment of minor illnesses and injuries without an appointment and at nights and on weekends.
The new Brannon Crossing facility also will have magnetic resonance imaging and expanded mammography services and lease space to physicians.
In June, Central Baptist broke ground on its first building in Richmond, where it will have primary-care physicians, outpatient diagnostic services and clinic space for a variety of specialties.
There's already a Central Baptist-run diagnostic center in Hamburg, plus ones at Palomar Center and Townley Park on Leestown Road.
About Hamburg, Childers said, "Everything is still an option."
"They want to make sure that for a project of this magnitude, they have planned for every aspect of it," she said.
The hospital hopes to complete its plans by the end of the year.
"There are plenty of people who would love for us to be out there now," Childers added.