HealthFirst Inc.’s $ 508 million plan to build a new hospital and “Wellness Village” outside Merritt Island’s State Highway 520 has taken a major step this week.
The Brevard County Commission voted 3-0 on Tuesday, approving the zoning changes and a series of exemptions required for the project. Chairman Christine Zonka abstained from voting because she was hired as a certified family nurse in the Health First Medical Group.
With the approval of the County Commission, Health First will begin construction of the project in early 2023 and will open a large facility in 2025.
The planned 7-story 120-bed hospital on the premises will replace the current 6-story 150-bed Cape Canaveral Hospital on State Highway 520 in Cocoa Beach. All 120 rooms in the new hospital will be private.
Health First held a community meeting with local residents on April 25 to explain the details of the plan. The zoning changes and exemptions were unanimously approved by the Merritt Island Redevelopment Agency on April 28 and by the Brevard County Planning and Zoning Committee on May 9.
The project also includes facilities such as various clinics, education centers, retail and restaurant spaces, spas, fitness centers, children’s day care centers, and parking lots. Built on 15 acres of merit Square Mall across State Highway 520, it includes what HealthFirst describes as a “park-like environment” between various buildings.
Health First’s leading lawyer, Kimberly Rezanka, told county commissioners that Health First is seeking a total of $ 508 million in private ties for the project and is not seeking public financial support.
Planning Committee Go Sign:Brevard Planning Commission Approves New Merritt Island Hospital Zoning Changes, Differences
Approximately 1,000 people work at the Merritt Island complex.
Lezanka called it a “transformation project. A great project.”
In a public comment from the County Commission on Tuesday, MIRA President Marcus Harman called the Health First project “a very exciting plan.”
According to Harman, HealthFirst has worked with MIRA and locals to address a variety of project concerns, including transportation, noise, drainage, parking and public transport.
In a public comment, Cocoa Beach resident Mary Jane Nail said, “We are pleased that HealthFirst is building a facility that is very beneficial to the general public. Wellness education and promotion in Brevard County. , Lack of life, so I’m glad to see them moving in that direction. “
Separately, Health First also plans to build wellness villages in Melbourne and Palm Bay.
In a statement released after the vote, HealthFirst said, “The Merritt Island campus will show that HealthFirst has moved from a sick care-focused era to a healing well and living well service era. “.
HealthFirst’s chief executive officer for retail services, Matthew Gerllell, said HealthFirst’s planned Merritt Island complex was “designed with consumers in mind, providing what the community needs when they want it. And there’s the bonus of being in one central location. “
“We are still at the forefront of traditional treatments — sick care,” Gerel said. “But here we offer services that support progressive preventive care and related lifestyles.
“This project is the next evolution and transformation of HealthFirst and will continue to provide healing well services such as hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and clinic buildings,” Gerllell told the county commissioner. “But we plan to add living well services such as retail, health food and child care. There is no fast food restaurant. There is no donut shop. There is no bar or alcohol. There is an education center and people in this village. Come in and get free education on how to stay healthy. “
“We are here for the community and we want to improve this community by improving and transforming healing and living well services,” Gerrell said.
Jonathan Flyte, Senior Vice President of Facility Construction at HealthFirst, said the concept “can dramatically change the characteristics of the entire region by providing significant new green spaces and critical health and wellness services.” It states.
Included in the HealthFirst project
These are components of the Health First Hospital and Wellness Village planned on Merritt Island.
- A 7-story, 320,000-square-foot hospital. Hospital pads are 13 feet higher to protect against possible storm surges, and hospitals are designed to withstand Category 4 hurricanes.
- A 21,500-square-foot central utility plant that includes heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and an emergency generator.
- 120,000 square foot clinic.
- 2,800 square feet spa.
- 7,500 square feet child day care center.
- 5,700 square foot restaurant.
- A 19,100-square-foot education center for health and wellness education.
- A 2,900 square foot coffee shop.
- 2,000 sq ft market / juice bar.
- 5,800 square feet of multipurpose retail space.
- 700 square foot concierge tower.
- 20,000 square foot fitness center.
- A two-story closed parking lot and a ground parking lot, totaling 947 spaces. The wellness village components will be built on top of the parking lot.
- A heliport that handles the landing and takeoff of a helicopter to transport a patient with a serious medical condition to or from a hospital emergency department.
“Important next step”
The zoning changes approved by the county commission included a change in the zoning classification from BU-1 (general retail commerce) and BU-2 (retail, warehousing, wholesale commerce) to planned unit development. ..
Most of the accompanying exemptions addressed building height and building receding. With the exemption, the design allows for clustering of buildings and facilitates the creation of green spaces.
“This is an important next step for us,” said Lance Skelly, director of public relations and media relations at HealthFirst, after the vote. This is an “important step to get started with this task”.
Health First is currently seeking approval from other regulators of the project, including the Florida Health Administration.
Approval of the project site plan is also required by various government agencies in Brevard County.
Health First said it will soon begin the construction process, surrounding the site, destroying the current structure and starting the foundation work required for the new complex.
Health First is Breverd’s largest healthcare provider. It operates Cape Canaveral Hospital, Melbourne’s Homes Community Health Center, Palm Bay Hospital, and VIERA Hospital. Its businesses also include health insurance plans, multidisciplinary medical groups, outpatient and wellness services. The company has approximately 9,000 employees.
MIRA District Boundary Problem
In another proceeding, the County Commission abstained from Zonka and voted 3-0 to initiate a process that could lead to the removal of the Health First Wellness Village site from the Merritt Island Redevelopment Agency district. I asked.
This proposal was introduced by County Commissioner John Tobia.
If the wellness village site is located within the MIRA district, the county property tax revenue generated by the complex will be available to MIRA for the project. If the wellness village is removed from the MIRA district, this tax revenue will be available to the county’s general financial resources.
Tobia said he believes that hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake each year. The new hospital will be tax exempt, but other phases of the project, such as retail components and parking, will not be tax exempt.
Tobia investigated this change in district boundaries as there are issues with how MIRA spends its money, including claims that MIRA is not enough to attract more affordable housing to the region. Said that.
Tobia quoted the $ 20,788 “Welcome to Merritt Island” sign purchased by MIRA as an example of false priorities.
The goal of his proposal is to “prevent MIRA from earning more money,” and to potentially direct more county property tax money to affordable housing programs. Said.
Harman and MIRA board member Jack Latterman spoke in public comments on this item in support of MIRA’s efforts to improve the region and in opposition to Tobia’s proposal.
Before changes occur to the boundaries of the MIRA district, the County Commission must vote separately to approve the changes.
Health First will be OK at the new Merit Island Hospital, Wellness Village
Source link Health First will be OK at the new Merit Island Hospital, Wellness Village