Developer to Recreate Former Hospital into Offices in Forth Worth

Redevelopment will start with approximately 100,000-s.f.


Nov. 25--FORT WORTH -- The developers who bought the vacant St. Joseph Hospital in the city's Medical District last year have bumped up the amount of office space they initially considered in the property's redevelopment.

The decision is a move to tap into a market segment that has garnered high demand in the past few years.

"It's taken on a larger role," said Bruce Stern, vice president for business development for Diversified Capital in New Jersey, which bought the property at South Main and Morphy streets in a foreclosure sale. "We've had a lot of interest, and it hasn't even hit the market yet."

The property is the site of Tarrant County's first hospital, which a group of San Antonio nuns founded in 1885, and is less than a mile south of the central business district where office vacancy rates have stayed low -- between 4 percent and 5 percent -- for the past five years. The development, which will be called Joseph's Garden, is also in an area with few large office spaces.

Kyle Poulson, a broker with NAI Huff Partners, which is leasing the development, said the location has attracted three potential tenants that could occupy slightly more than half of the space.

The location will be an affordable option, featuring renovated space with good amenities, he said.

Poulson said he receives five to 10 calls a week from businesses and individuals wanting office and retail space on the city's south side.

"It's not going to be your traditional downtown tenant," Poulson said.

Next year, in the first phase of the multiphased redevelopment, about 100,000 square feet of space of the former patient tower will be renovated for office use. The first floor will become shops and restaurants, and the sixth through 12th floors will become apartments, he said.

An additional 50,000 square feet of office space will be included in the renovation, Stern said.

Formal plans for the entire project could be released in January, he said.

HCA/Columbia Healthcare Corp. owned the property when the hospital closed in 1995.

Heritage Geriatric Housing Development later converted some of the lower floors into an Alzheimer's center called St. Joseph Garden.

------

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 sabaker@star-telegram.com

>