Revised plans submitted to Southwest Florida Water Management District eliminate a previously included retail portion and now include a full hospital and secondary Health Park medical office building (MOB).
The plan details were redacted and are no longer publicly available, protected as confidential per Chapter 288.075 Florida Statutes, Winter Haven Planning Manager Sean Byers told GrowthSpotter. “I do not believe I am at liberty to disclose any information about this project at this time,” he said.
The site is located at the southwest corner of U.S. 17 and Cypress Gardens Boulevard, across from the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes Athletic Complex, and prior to March was slated for a shopping center with big-box retail.
The property was owned by Alabama-based Vigoro Acquisition Corp. and once was the site of a fertilizer processing facility. The Environmental Protection Agency designated it as a brownfield. Vigoro transferred ownership of the 20-acre site in October to Apopka-based V3 Commercial, which led the project through its entitlements and environmental remediation.
“Advent is involved. … They’ve been involved for quite some time. Even in March, we were talking a health park concept there,” V3-CEO Trey Vick told GrowthSpotter. The full concept for the project isn’t’ finalized, he said. “I’m hopeful that everything gets wrapped up first quarter next year.”
The latest construction plan review by Tampa-based civil engineer VHB with the Water District was issued Nov. 5. The initial layout discussed with GrowthSpotter in March is no longer relevant, Vick said.
The Winter Haven property is owned by Alabama-based Vigoro Acquisition Corp. and once was the site of a fertilizer processing facility. David Breen, AdventHealth corporate communications manager, told GrowthSpotter: “There’s nothing I can confirm at this point.”
“There are contracts in place,” Vick said, but also confidentiality agreements. He expects announcements in January. Site plan approvals and permitting will begin in the first quarter. Hospital architect is Nashville-based ESa, which was the architect on AdventHealth’s 2015 Kissimmee addition. The Health Park architect is Orlando-based Hunton Brady, the lead architect for AdventHealth’s Clermont medical campus approved in 2020.
“I think it’s going to be great for the city, and the city will be happy. It’s going to be a great asset to the city, and we’re super happy to be involved in it,” Vick said. “I think Winter Haven has a great story. Polk County in general is a great story of growth. Everybody wants to be in Florida.”
AdventHealth already has a presence in Polk County through its ownership of Heart of Florida Hospital in the Davenport/Haines City area and the former Lake Wales Medical Center. In November, the company announced it was forming a new Heartland regional division that will encompass all of its existing and future facilities and services in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties.
Jennifer Wandersleben, who previously served as CEO of Acute Care Services for the Central Florida Division – South Region, was named CEO of the newly expanded Heartland Region and started that position on Dec. 1. Throughout her 20-year tenure with the company, Wandersleben has overseen numerous hospital and freestanding ER projects, including the construction of the new Apopka campus, and major expansions at Winter Park, Orlando and Kissimmee.
“This is such an exciting time to be at AdventHealth as we continue to serve our communities and extend our healing mission. By creating this new and expanded region, we have great opportunities to innovate, transform the care experience for our patients and, ultimately, improve the health of our entire region,” Wandersleben said. “I look forward to working with our Polk, Highlands and Hardee teams, and together, helping our community feel whole.”
The company has been in expansion mode since 2019 when Florida rescinded the requirement for healthcare providers to secure a Certificate of Need for new hospital construction and expansion. In late October, the company paid $21 million to purchase land in the Hills of Minneola for a full-service acute care hospital and medical park. In early August, the company paid $32 million for the former Holy Land Experience property at the I-4 - Conroy Road interchange in Orlando.
In nearby Clermont, a 24-bed emergency department opened in November and will be followed by comprehensive outpatient services coming in January with the opening of the Clermont health park.