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Mercy Health announces probable demolition of former St. Luke’s Hospital

Posted By: The Toledo Blade on June 12, 2024.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

After sitting vacant for over a year, the former St. Luke’s Hospital will likely be demolished, Mercy Health Toledo announced Wednesday.

The proposed demolition is expected to include the former cancer center, though the remaining buildings will be repurposed, according to Mercy Health President Bob Baxter.

McLaren St. Luke’s closed to the public in May, 2023, after experiencing years of financial difficulties and declining revenue. Mercy Health acquired the campus the following month.

“We’re seeking a developer to work with on developing the rest of the campus, but we believe the hospital will have to be demolished as we have completed our due diligence,” Mr. Baxter said, adding that the decision was the “hardest part of the discussion” in revamping the old campus. “We don’t know that there will be a new building, but anything’s possible.”

There wasn’t a clear use for the hospital, he said, and the challenges it posed would make it difficult to reopen.

“Once you close a hospital, if you were to try to go through the process of relicensing it and opening it back up, then you need to bring everything back up to current code, which becomes extraordinarily expensive.”

As to other challenges involved with reopening the building, Mr. Baxter said it was “sort of everything”.

“There was a lot of deferred maintenance that needed to go into the building, HVAC issues that needed to be upgraded,” he said. “We went down a road of looking at what the best use of the campus was.”

The hospital would have to be relicensed and brought back up to code, he said, citing past anti-trust concerns as another contributing factor to St. Luke’s closure.

The Federal Trade Commission halted a proposed merger between St. Luke’s and ProMedica in 2011 after ruling it violated anti-trust law. A summary of the case provided by the FTC said the merger would have “reduced competition” and allowed ProMedica to “raise prices for general acute care and inpatient obstetrical services.”

Following the unsuccessful merger, St. Luke’s continued to operate as an independent hospital for a number of years before it was acquired by McLaren Health Care in 2019.

The exact timeline going forward is unclear, but Mercy Health says it will begin reaching out to developers this week so the project can move forward as quickly as possible.

“We want to make sure we find a developer that has experience with these sorts of projects, that we have a shared vision, that they have the financial wherewithal to deliver on the project, and that we can get through any of the codes, zoning, and ordinance issues that may exist,” Mr. Baxter said.

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