Hospital, city negotiating for expansion

11/18/2013 10:47 PM

11/18/2013 10:48 PM

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center is preparing plans to add a patient bed tower and a second professional office building at its campus on East Broad Street.

The deal would include $200,000 city property tax relief and the permanent closure of Hospital Drive, which runs along the south side of the complex and separates the hospital from 23 acres it purchased several years ago.

The city also would build a one-block road segment connecting Miller Drive to Matlock Road, parallel to and south of Hospital Drive. The new section, which would be part of the future South Cannon Drive loop, would take some of Hospital Drive’s traffic when the road closes.

The City Council last week put off a vote on the city’s draft of a contract to give hospital officials more time to review it.

“Since Methodist Mansfield opened in 2006, the hospital has nearly doubled its capacity,” hospital President John Phillips said in an e-mail response to the News-Mirror. “Now we are exploring the need to further expand the hospital to meet the needs of the growing Mansfield community.”

Phillips said representatives of the 168-bed hospital, at 2700 E. Broad St., are working with the city staff on the details and expect to present a final plan to the Methodist Health System board of directors early next year. Construction would begin “thereafter,” he said.

Phillips declined to discuss details of the proposed agreement because negotiations are ongoing.

The hospital plans to build a tower that would provide at least 100 additional private in-patient rooms, mainly serving intensive care, cardiology and general medical service areas, according to the city’s draft contract. The planned patient tower would be attached to the west side of the main hospital building, said City Attorney Allen Taylor.

The office building would be at least 90,000 square feet and would be used “by the medical community in support of the hospital,” the city’s proposed contract said. The office building would occupy part of the 23 acres on the south side of Hospital Drive.

Employment targets are part of the agreement, although spaces for specific figures in city’s draft contract were left blank. Phillips estimated the expansion would create about 200 jobs, bringing the hospital’s total to nearly 1,100 employees.

As a nonprofit, Methodist Mansfield pays taxes only on its existing physician office building.

Construction of the new office building would trigger the tax deal, under Chapter 380 the Texas Local Government Code. The hospital would pay city property taxes on that building, and the city would reimburse the hospital for those taxes annually until the $200,000 threshold is reached.

Taylor said the hospital’s planned expansion “is more than enough of an economic development investment to justify the incentives that the city is considering.”

Taylor said he expects some minor details could change, but the key provisions are outlined in a memorandum of understanding, which he said the hospital attorneys have had for weeks and not objected to. The detailed contract basically implements the memorandum, he added.

The 310,500-square-foot, five-floor hospital opened Dec. 27, 2006, and it remains the only full-service acute-care medical facility in the city of approximately 60,000 residents.

Not only has the city’s residential and commercial base grown significantly since then, but also a medical district has blossomed around the hospital with the arrival of a day surgery center, pediatric clinic and other medical service providers.

The medical center has already expanded its facilities and services several times during its stay, recently including the addition of the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center, the $9.1 million renovation of its Women’s Pavilion and the introduction of its da Vinci Surgical System of robot-assisted, minimally invasive surgery.

The hospital’s medical service area extends from central Arlington to Waxahachie to Burleson and to the western edge of southwest Dallas County.

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