Patience for Mercy: Hospital to wait out condo fight
By Risa Polansky
High-rise condos set for Mercy Hospital property could be kaput after a court ruling last week — but renovations the hospital planned to fund through the land sale are still on.
Mercy can sit tight should court battles continue, the hospital's head says. And aging hospital facilities are to see a revamp no matter what's built on the land.
Miami commissioners voted last year to rezone the 6.7-acre hospital parking lot to allow developer Related Group to build a three-tower complex on property zoned government/institutional.
A three-judge Circuit Court appellate panel overturned the rezoning in a 2-1 ruling.
Mercy is set to make $96 million toward a facilities overhaul in selling the land to Ocean Land Investments to make way for the project.
It could take significant time to receive the money should the developers decide to appeal the court decision.
But Mercy can wait.
Though "obviously, we could use that money sooner," President & CEO John Matuska said, "We're not spending those dollars in anticipation we're going to get that money in this year or next year or the year after."
While the parking lot is "an asset that we want to eventually convert into cash so we can continue to modernize the hospital," Mercy can continue to make small-scale improvements using internal equity and wait out the possible court battle, he said.
Money from the land, once in hand, is to be used to do larger capital projects, including some building replacements.
Should the condos never be built, Ocean Land could still buy the property and potentially build an assisted living facility there.
"A lot of things are possibilities," Mr. Matuska said, as current zoning provides for many healthcare-related options. It also allows for unlimited height.