A Miami Beach hospital is to be converted into a condominium by a South Florida developer. The previously obsolete hospital property will find a new lease of life as a residential project.
The Miami Heart Institute will be converted into a 126 unit condominium at a cost of $200 million. The site was purchased by the developer for $20 million, and it is expected that asking prices will range from
$2 million up to $25 million per unit. The building had been empty since 2004 and comprises a 6 acre site in the Mid-Beach neighborhood. The hospital's façade will be preserved during the redevelopment, and the developers are hoping to take advantage of the recent recovery in Miami property prices that has at least in part been led by purchasers coming from Latin America. In the second quarter of this year the average condo sales price in Miami increased to $399,365. This is an increase of 11.9% compared to a year earlier.
Empty hospitals are often popular for redevelopment as they can have a great architecture, and may also have a significant history that can make them more appealing to buyers. Often these properties are in prime locations, and according to the article in the Wall Street Journal more have been coming onto the market in recent years. Government cutbacks have led to some hospitals consolidating, and in addition hospital owners often find it easier to build new facilities than to try to modernize old buildings that really aren't suitable for today's healthcare industry.
In 2011 there were 90 hospital merger announcements up from 52 in 2009. In 2008 there were 5,815 hospitals with a total of 951,000 beds, but by 2011 this figure had fallen to 5,724 hospitals with a total of 924,000 beds. Not all empty hospitals will be converted into housing, as the former Charity Hospital building in New Orleans is to become the new City Hall as a cost of $270 million. The Art Deco building has been vacant since 2005 when it suffered damage from Hurricane Katrina.
Not everyone thinks the redevelopment of hospitals is a good thing, and projects such as the Miami Beach hospital have faced opposition from within the local community who are concerned about problems that could be caused by overcrowding, while some have met opposition over worries about infrastructure. Other projects have run into problems due to concerns over health care, as not surprisingly some residents have been against the closing of local hospitals.