The City Council gave tentative approval Tuesday to move forward on plans for a four-story, 72,000 square-foot medical office building constructed by The Hale Corporation, in partnership with The Stronach Group, to be located on more than three acres of Santa Anita Racetrack property adjacent to the current medical building directly across Huntington Drive from Methodist Hospital.
The Hale Corporation has built many large-scale projects in Arcadia, including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles at 468 E. Santa Clara Street several years ago. Dick Hale, President of The Hale Corporation and a member of the Methodist Hospital and Foundation Boards who voted to invest the $280 million to upgrade the hospital with a new emergency room and patient tower, said the medical building project is not only much needed, but will invest $20 million into the community and generate 300 construction jobs, 250 permanent jobs, and additional property taxes for Arcadia.
“We all want and demand the best health care system we can have for our family and neighbors,” he later wrote in an e-mail to the Chamber. “Health comes at a price, a very high price. (The new Methodist Hospital five-story) tower is a heavy debt on our hospital and community. We need to supplement that with state of the art medical buildings to retain our existing doctors and assist the Hospital and existing medical groups in attracting new physicians to the community.”
Among questions-concerns raised by the Council during the Oct. 2 study session the preceded the regular City Council meeting:
- The property must be re-zoned for Commercial Office use.
- The liklihood that the partnership will be finalized many other such announcements involving track owner Stronach that did not ever get finalized. The Council decided there is no downside — and no cost to City or taxpayers — to proceed with procedural matters while Hale and Stronach try to finalize their partnership and the funding the project.
- Another proposed medical building near the same property by the owners of the current medical building that has been planned for several years and even has a sign saying “coming soon.” The Council decided it is up to developers to see which of them can get funding first.
- Carving up the race track parking lot property piecemeal for projects like this instead of developing an overall plan for use of the largest vacant lot. The Council agreed that an adjacent medical building next to the current one would not jeopardize the overall property use.