HCA Healthcare Buys 100 Acres In Estero For $52.5 Million

HCA Healthcare purchased nearly 100 acres in Estero for $52.5 million at the end of December, property records show.

The Nashville-based health care system bought the land for a planned hospital in Estero that state regulators approved last year, said Debra McKell, a spokeswoman for HCA West Florida, a division of HCA.

The land is bordered by U.S. 41 to the west, Williams Road to the south and Via Coconut Point to the east. Hertz Global Headquarters sits directly south of the property on Williams Road.

Property records show Fawcett Memorial Hospital, based in Port Charlotte, purchased the 100-acre property Dec. 20 from Estero North Point LTD. Fawcett Memorial Hospital is one of 15 hospitals that belong to HCA West Florida.

A deed for the purchase lists the hospital’s address as One Park Plaza in Nashville, which is the HCA headquarters. McKell confirmed HCA made the purchase. McKell said the land was acquired for the planned hospital and to “explore other uses as well down the road.”

The property purchased by HCA is currently zoned for commercial uses, Estero Community Development Director Mary Gibbs said. HCA would have to rezone the property to allow any medical uses, Gibbs said.

In June, HCA received approval from state regulators to build an 80-bed hospital in Estero. Lee Health also received approval from the state to build an 82-bed hospital at Lee Health – Coconut Point, its $140 million medical campus now open in Estero south of Coconut Road.

Both health care systems have filed legal challenges to each other’s hospital plans.

The 100-acre property purchased by HCA is less than 5 miles north of Lee Health – Coconut Point in Estero, which opened in early December. Also nearby is Collier County-based NCH Healthcare System’s medical facility that recently opened in Bonita Springs, just south of the city’s border with Estero.

The Lee Health – Coconut Point complex had no impact on HCA’s decision to purchase the property in December, McKell said.

“I don’t think we follow other health systems to determine where we’re putting something,” McKell said.

Lee Health has been working with Estero for more than a dozen years to build a hospital in the community, said Mary Briggs, a spokeswoman for Lee Health.

“We think we have the best location. We’ve already built the complementary outpatient services that serve the hospital,” Briggs said. “We’re just moving forward our plans to build that facility.”

Former Florida governor and now Sen. Rick Scott led what was then known as Columbia/HCA between 1987 and 1997. He left amid a federal investigation into its Medicare billing practices, which ultimately forced the company to pay $1.7 billion in penalties and fines between 2000 and 2002.

HCA formerly operated the now-demolished Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center and what was once known as Gulf Coast Hospital. Lee Health acquired both in 2006 in a $535 million deal.

Estero’s Village Center

The 100-acre property purchased by HCA is within Estero’s village center.

Estero has planned the village center to be a walkable, mixed-use downtown for residents and businesses in the community. Land in Estero’s village center stretches from near Coconut Road to just north of Broadway.

Estero Mayor Jim Boesch said the purchase by HCA is great news for the village.

“We’ve waited long for that 100 acres to come to pass,” he said.

Boesch said development on the property will add to the momentum happening in the village center.

He pointed to construction of the Genova condos at the southeast corner of Corkscrew Road and Via Coconut Point and Estero’s pending purchase of 62 acres along the Estero River at the northeast corner of Corkscrew Road and U.S. 41.

The village is expected to close on the Estero River property Monday, Jan. 14.

“My prediction is U.S. 41 and Corkscrew Road will be the center of town,” Boesch said.

Source: Naples Daily News

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