In the midst of South Lake Hospital's announcement on March 16 of $50 million in expansion plans for its emergency department and two off-site facilities, the hospital's purchase of a medical office building next to its main building flew under the radar.
On the same day as the big announcement, the Orlando Health affiliate in Clermont spent $4.6 million to buy a medical condominium building connected by walkway to its main office.
Kim Couch, manager of community relations for the hospital, said the property had been for sale for about a year and the hospital decided it made sense to purchase it.
"We are running out of office space [at the main hospital] and the medical office building is right here on our campus," she said, adding that there are no specific plans at the moment on how to use the new building.
PCA South Lake Condos LLC and PMvia South Lake Condominiums LLC sold the medical condominiums at 1920 Don Wickham Dr. Both trace to Principal Financial Group, a subsidiary of Principal Insurance in De Moines, Iowa. Representatives from Principal did not return calls for comment on Thursday.
A search of hospital land ownership around its Clermont campus shows no shortage of land for future expansion nearby. South Lake's holdings include 92.91 acres of vacant land owned directly around the hospital.
North of the hospital and Oakley Seaver Drive, the hospital owns some 54.66 acres between eight parcels, not including the hospital itself or its new medical building, all zoned vacant commercial.
According to the Lake County Property Appraiser, the hospital paid more than $6.55 million for four of the parcels between 2002 and 2010, with four parcels listed as N/A under price paid, perhaps because the land was donated or included in the price of another parcel transaction.
The hospital owns another 38.25 acres north of Oakley Seaver Drive and east of the hospital. Because of changes in the boundary lines, it was difficult to determine how much the hospital paid for those parcels over time.
Almost all of South Lake's most recently announced expansions are near the home hospital, excluding an expansion of the hospital's emergency and surgical departments at the Clermont campus.
A free-standing emergency department at the junction of U.S. 192 and U.S. 27 is planned in the fast-growing Four Corners area. In addition, there will be outpatient imaging, laboratory and rehabilitation services, plus extra space for future expansion.
The emergency department is part of a master-planned development with physician offices, restaurants, and residential apartments under development by Exploria Resorts.
The other expansion will be about 13 miles north of the Clermont campus at the interchange of U.S. 27 and a northbound entrance to the Florida Turnpike. It will include urgent care, outpatient imaging, laboratory and rehabilitation services as well as space for physician offices.
Little Diversified Architecture is designing the expansions, said hospital spokeswoman Kim Couch. She said the hospital will release requests for proposals in the next couple of months.