Hospital Corporation of America, which operates the Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, is planning to build a new medical campus in Heathrow that would include a 180-bed hospital, and may ultimately replace the Sanford location entirely.
Seminole County planners are scheduled for a pre-application meeting on Wednesday with HCA representatives to discuss an 11,000-square-foot, free-standing emergency room.
The facility would be located on a 28.34-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Wilson Road and International Parkway, which was being prepared for development last year by then-owner The Rockefeller Group.
The applicant is JPM AA Housing LLC, a company tied to Stites & Harbison PLLC, a Nashville-based law firm that has an extensive healthcare practice. The company bought the property from The Rockefeller Group in September for $9.7 million.
Plans filed with Seminole County show the property be further developed to include two 60,000-square-foot office buildings, and a 180-bed hospital.
In a letter to Seminole County, Matthew West of engineering firm S&ME (formerly Littlejohn), said the property would be developed in stages, with the free-standing emergency room being Phase 1.
Sources in Seminole County government and commercial real estate have told GrowthSpotter in recent weeks that HCA had purchased the property, with plans to either relocate Central Florida Regional Hospital from its Sanford location or add a second hospital.
Florida Hospital opened its own free-standing emergency room last summer at Rinehart Road and County Road 46A, about 2.4 miles southeast of the proposed medical campus. Sources said that move, combined with a desire to attract more patients from the Western Seminole County and Eastern Lake County markets, drove HCA's decision to buy the property from Rockefeller Group.
So far, Central Florida Regional Hospital leaders have been mum about their plans. Calls to Edward H. Burrell III, Stites & Harbison attorney who filed the paperwork creating the land buyer LLC, were not returned.
David Gierach, a board of trustees member for Central Florida Regional Hospital, declined to comment and directed questions to hospital CEO Wendy Brandon.
"She can fill you in on their plans," Gierach said.
Calls and emails to Brandon through the hospital's marketing representative, Sandy McPherson, were not returned.
Sanford elected leaders are concerned about the hospital leaving the city altogether. The current 221-bed acute care hospital was built in 1982, and is designated as a Level II trauma center. It sits approximately 11 miles from the proposed medical campus.
"The city and the hospital have always had a good relationship, and I hope we're able to continue that in the future," said Sanford city Commissioner Patty Mahany. "I would hate to see the hospital leave Sanford. I think it would be bad for the city, and I think it would be bad for the hospital."
Miguel de Arcos is ecstatic about the prospect on Central Florida Regional Hospital building on International Parkway. He owns Central Parc Development & Property Management, a firm that has built several developments along International Parkway, including Savannah Park at Heathrow, which is directly across from the proposed hospital.
"I cannot think of a better location for a new hospital. It's tucked into the cradle of the new 417/Wekiva Parkway interchange and right in between two I-4 exits," said de Arcos, who was Rockefeller Group's broker in 2007 when the company bought the property from frozen food magnate Jeno Paulucci.
"As the developer of the new retail project directly across the street, this is exactly the kind of growth and increased traffic we have been banking on for the success of our project," he added.