By. Chris Stritzel
Today, plans were released by Former City Health Director Pamela Walker and Chairman of St. Alexius’ Emergency Room, Sonny Saggar, to build a new Micro Hospital in Downtown West. The new development will hopefully rise at the corner of 15th and Locust on a vacant lot owned by Sonny. It is next door to Larry Rice's closed down NLEC Building (hopefully that will go away soon). It will be the first Micro Hospital concept in the region and serve the numerous residents and workers in Downtown and the surrounding area.
The whole new experiment will add 24 hospital beds to downtown (the only in downtown). It will also be built on Locust, the downtown street that has been seeing a number of new revitalization projects happen around it, most notably, two blocks East, the Shell Building will soon undergo a major restoration to turn it into a hotel. The Central Library is also nearby. This will be 5 floors tall if the renderings are correct. The total job count will be at 100 when and if the hospital opens. It appears that it will be built though as numerous investors are signing up to invest in the planned non-profit hospital.
The planned hospital will add to density downtown and will add to the street scape. Sadly, it should include at least a small retail space because Locust Street is prime real estate and right next door to the very trendy avenue known as Washington. It would do wonders but I understand if the addition of retail is not possibility. The plans have a full size emergency room built into the facility which will result in shorter emergency hospital response times in St. Louis. I am willing the bet that the Emergency Room drive up will be on St. Charles Street considering that emergency activity should steer clear of one of the major Downtown streets.
The developer is Lawrence Group who is partnering with Pamela Walker and Sonny Saggar, they released the renderings today. The cost will be $70 Million.
More details will be available as time goes on. Very exciting project for Downtown West and transformational for the hospital system in St. Louis.
This story was broke by the Riverfront Times.
Additional Renderings were featured on the News 4 report. They show a aerial Rendering and up close view from the street. The building will be built right up to the NLEC Building. We will contact the Lawrence Group or Ms. Walker to receive these Renderings, until then, the News 4 Branding will have to stay.
I emailed Pamela Walker again about this project and she got back to me and stated...
”We are working on several fronts simultaneously and in different stages:
- Obtaining IRS non-profit status
- Obtaining a Certificate of need
- Putting together financing
- Finding a home. Either new construction or putting one of our many vacant downtown buildings into a higher and greater community use.
- Lining up political and community support.
It is a slow process and a lot of balls are up in the air. We will keep you informed of our progress and as we get more details and options we will seek community input and support.
As a downtown homeowner I want to assure you that community and economic benefit is a must have for us.”
In other words, this project is still moving forward but slower than expected.