Baptist Health beats out rival bid for Sunrise site of its first hospital in Broward

Baptist won approval to acquire 25 city-owned acres after agreeing to pay $14.3M for the property and to build a 100-bed hospital

Bo Boulenger, president and COO of Baptist Health South Florida and renderings of the planned hospital at 12401 W. Oakland Park Blvd. (Baptist Health South Florida)
Bo Boulenger, president and COO of Baptist Health South Florida and renderings of the planned hospital at 12401 W. Oakland Park Blvd. (Baptist Health South Florida)

Baptist Health South Florida is set to buy city-owned land in Sunrise for its first hospital in Broward County, beating out a rival bid for the 25-acre site.

The Sunrise City Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday to sell the hospital development site at 12401 West Oakland Park Boulevard to Coral Gables-based nonprofit Baptist Health for $14.3 million.

The price matched a joint bid for the site by two tax-supported hospital systems, Memorial Healthcare and Broward Health.

City commissioners who favored the bid by Baptist Health cited unkept promises by Broward Health to build a hospital in Sunrise at Pine Island Road and Oakland Park Boulevard, where the hospital system acquired property 20 years ago. CEO Shane Strum told commissioners Broward Health owns about 8 acres there.

“It leads me to believe this is just about killing the competition,” Sunrise Assistant Deputy Mayor Mark A. Douglas said of Broward Health’s bid for the 25 acres the commission agreed to sell to Baptist. “I don’t think Broward [Health] has always acted in good faith. Baptist seems to be acting in good faith.”

City commissioners in August declared the 25-acre site a “surplus” municipal property. It is on the northwest corner of Oakland Park Boulevard and the Sawgrass Expressway.

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The city then negotiated a deal in which Baptist agreed to buy the site for $13.8 million and build a 25-bed hospital there. Among other terms of the deal, Baptist would forfeit the land if it failed to obtain building permits for a new hospital within 24 months after closing on the property, said Sunrise City Manager Mark Lubelski.

Broward Health and Memorial Healthcare intervened last week and upped the ante. In a letter of intent signed by their CEOs and delivered to Lubelski on Jan. 7, they made a non-binding offer to pay $14.3 million for the site, and as part of the deal, they agreed to build a hospital with 100 to 150 beds on Broward Health’s existing property at Pine Island Road and Oakland Park Boulevard.

“Broward Health is not proposing to build a hospital on the city’s 25-acre property. Broward Health is proposing to purchase the city’s property and re-convey it to a commercial developer that proposes to develop it into a commercial or mixed-use property,” the city manager said.

Bo Boulenger, president and COO of Baptist, orally agreed to raise Baptist’s bid for the 25-acre, city-owned site from $13.8 million to $14.3 million during his presentation to Sunrise commissioners Tuesday night. Boulenger also said Baptist would commit to building a hospital with 80 to 100 beds.

Commissioners conditioned their approval of the land sale to Baptist on payment of the $14.3 million price and delivery of a site plan for a 100-bed hospital.

It would be the first acute-care hospital in Sunrise, which has a population of about 90,000.

“I have no doubt that Baptist will put this [hospital] in the ground quickly,” Sunrise Mayor Michael J. Ryan said at the city commission meeting. “They’ve worked with our [city] staff for a year.”