October 5, 2022
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Hospital sets stage for $300M expansion

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For more than a year, Community Memorial Hospital has
tallied more than $10 million in real estate acquisitions close to its
midtown Ventura location.

 

The spending spree will set the stage for a
new $300 million hospital facility intended to carry Community Memorial
into the modern age of patient care and seismic standards.

The region’s seventh-largest hospital is in the midst of an in-house
planning process to determine the specifications of the new medical
complex, and what will be done with the original hospital at 147 N.
Brent St.

“Over the past probably five years or so, we have looked at various
options to comply with the seismic mandate from the state and have
considered various arrangements,” said Adam Thunell, chief operating
officer of Community Memorial. “One we are pursuing right now is the
compete replacement and redevelopment of the existing hospital.”

Although the redevelopment plans came in response to a state mandate
requiring all acute care facilities to be retrofitted to withstand a
seismic event, Community Memorial Vice President of Marketing and
Development Michael Ellingson said the 1960s building was ready for an
update.

“With a hospital that has physically reached its limitation, it’s just
as important we rebuild the facility because of that,” Ellingson said.
“We’re practicing modern health care in a facility that was built for
the health care of yesterday.”

Now in final negotiations for the last piece of property that will
create the site for its updated 320,000-square-foot hospital, Community
Memorial plans to re-establish itself as the cornerstone of a community
in which it has had a name since 1902.

Hospital representatives did not disclose the address of the final
property to be acquired, but said the purchase process is nearly
complete.

“In essence we have already come to an agreement, we’re just nailing that down,” Thunell said. “All the land is secure.”

According to property transaction records, Community Memorial Health
System has taken ownership of seven parcels since January 2007,
including:

• 75, 85, 95, 107 N. Brent St. with a sale price of $2.4 million;

• 145 N. Brent St., sale price $3.5 million;

• 2825 Cabrillo Drive, sale price $1.7 million;

• 2809 E. Main St., sale price $3.13 million.

Although not part of the new hospital site, Community Memorial
purchased the quarter-acre site for additional ancillary services that
may need to relocate.

The sites were primarily medical offices and residential, said
Community Memorial Assistant Vice President Haady Lashkari. The
physician tenants are expected to be transferred to new or existing
Community Memorial office space.

The new facility will maintain the same number of beds as the current
hospital, but will be nearly 40 percent larger than the current
230,000-square-foot building, both because of current state building
codes and because the new hospital will offer only private rooms.

Community Memorial also plans to increase critical-care beds, surgery suites and emergency rooms at the 242-bed facility.

No timeline for completion has been set, although the organization
plans to have construction complete by its 2013 deadline and expects
the building process to take about three years.

Community Memorial plans to modernize its Ojai Valley facility as well.
Thunell said a private consulting firm has helped the hospital to
develop a 10-year financial forecast.

Although he is “not ready to go into much detail” about financing the
midtown redevelopment, Thunell said the main sources of funding will
come from a capital-raising campaign, tax-exempt bonds financing and
the hospital’s own reserve capital.

The Community Memorial board has explored several options for use of
the original hospital, which will remain attached to the new building –
including office space, clinical space or incubator programs – but has
not finalized any decisions, Thunell said.