The Wellington health care provider wants a bigger presence in growing western Palm Beach County.
Wellington Regional Medical Center is moving fast to establish itself as the major medical provider for the city of Westlake.
The Wellington-based medical complex late last month paid $12.3 million for 35 acres in Westlake, the new city in western Palm Beach County. The property’s seller was Minto Communities USA, which is building thousands of homes in Westlake.
Wellington Regional plans to build a hospital and medical offices to serve the rapidly growing population in Westlake, said Pam Trahan, Wellington Regional’s chief executive.
READ: Standalone emergency department opens in Westlake
“We’ve been planning for over five years, discussing growth in the western communities,” Trahan said in an interview on Tuesday. “We plan to have a true medical community.”
With new homes being built in western communities, and businesses coming in alongside new residences, Trahan said the time was right to make the purchase.
Wellington Regional, the dominant medical provider in Wellington with services that include a community hospital, comprehensive stroke unit and Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit, wants to be the same force in Westlake, as well as other western communities, Trahan said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Inside the new ER at Westlake
Wellington Regional already has had a taste of the growth potential in Westlake. Wellington Regional opened a standalone emergency room in April on five acres of land next to the 35-acre plot.
“Every month we track our progress” at the ER, Trahan said. “And we see additional volume to that facility so we can tell that the area is growing,” she added.
Wellington Regional’s parent company, Universal Health Services, had an option to acquire the 35 acres when it closed on the land for the emergency room facility early in 2018
Trahan said Wellington Regional expects to map out plans for the 35-acre site in 2020.
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“We commend Wellington Regional for having the vision to start planning now to meet the future demand for medical services in this part of Palm Beach County,” John Carter, vice president of Minto Communities USA, said in a statement. “At the rate Westlake is growing, there will be a big need for robust and quality health care services in the area sooner rather than later.”
Minto has sold more than 420 single-family homes since opening Westlake in October 2017, beating expectations. That sales velocity has propelled the City of Westlake to become the fastest growing city in Florida according to U.S. Census figures.
The 3,800-acre Westlake community is approved for 4,500 homes and more than 2-million square feet of commercial space.