ST. PETERSBURG — After failing to find a suitable buyer or tenant for its former home, All Children's Hospital officials announced Tuesday they will instead demolish the old hospital and turn the site into green space.
The hospital was approached by more than 140 different companies about the 44-year-old building, said Cindy Rose, All Children's associate vice president for marketing and community relations. "But things just didn't work out because of the economy, the size of the building, the refitting" that would need to be done, she said.
The hospital hasn't had much use for the old building since moving into its $403 million facility a few blocks away in January 2010. Located at 501 Sixth Ave. S., the new hospital and outpatient center comprise nearly 1 million square feet — more than double the old building — and include numerous amenities and a helicopter landing pad.
Meanwhile, maintaining the 339,000 square-foot former hospital building, at 801 Sixth St. S., was costing about $1-million a year. The air conditioning needed to be kept on to prevent mold, Rose said. So the hospital's governing board voted a few weeks ago to demolish it.
Rose said there would not be a big implosion. Rather, the building will be taken down gradually, and should be gone by Thanksgiving. She did not know how much the demolition would cost.
The hospital was built in 1967 at a cost of $4.25 million. Like many properties in the Tampa Bay area, its value has declined sharply in recent years. From a peak assessed value of $7.4 million in 2008, it fell to $6.7 million in 2009 and $5.5 million in 2010.
The building had some limitations for potential buyers. It could not get any bigger, since a number of renovations over the years pushed it up against the property line. And it couldn't get any taller, because it's in nearby Albert Whitted Airport's primary flight path.
Earlier this month, the hospital became part of the Johns Hopkins Health System. Rose said Hopkins officials have been involved in discussions on what to do with the property.
Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Richard Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8330.