WESLEY CHAPEL — A new hospital is in the works for the master-planned community springing up around Wiregrass Mall.
Orlando Health on Monday announced it is seeking permission from Pasco County to build a 300-bed multi-story hospital and wellness campus at the corner of State Road 56 and Wiregrass Ranch Boulevard. It expects to close on the purchase of about 35 acres this fall.
The $300 million first phase of the project would include an emergency room, observation unit and intensive care unit housed in a five-story tower, Orlando Health officials said. Construction is expected to begin late this year with a provisional opening date of the end of 2024.
The project, known as Orlando Health Wiregrass Ranch Hospital, will create 500 temporary construction jobs and 625 permanent health care jobs, the company said.
“With the tremendous growth on Florida’s West Coast, we are truly excited to have Orlando Health meet the needs of this region,” said John Moore, senior vice president of Orlando Health’s West region in a statement. “Patients will receive exceptional emergency and inpatient care from clinical experts in multiple specialties, the highest quality diagnostic services, and seamless access to all of Orlando Health’s trusted primary and specialty care providers.”
The new hospital marks another step in Orlando Health’s entry into the Tampa Bay health care market, which began with the landmark purchase of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg in 2020.
Since then, the health care giant, which boasts more than $8 billion in assets, has begun construction on a free-standing emergency room at 1800 66th St. N.
Work is also underway around the Bayfront campus for a digestive health center. Further afield, Orlando Health has purchased property in Manatee County for a future health and wellness campus, similar to what is proposed at Wiregrass, and has also bought 80 acres in Lakeland to start construction on a new hospital.
“This is a natural extension of our health care network to connect (Central Florida and Tampa Bay) and to support and develop those regions which are growing in and of themselves,” said Matt Taylor, Orlando Health senior vice president of asset strategy.
The new hospital will be part of the 5,000-acre Wiregrass Ranch master-planned community, which is already home to a 148-bed AdventHealth hospital and several other new health clinics.
“Access to the best health care has always been a foundation of the Wiregrass Ranch community and Orlando Health’s excellent track record of putting patients first will no doubt serve our vibrant and growing population looking for high quality healthcare, and a great foundation to our town center,” said J.D. Porter, of Wiregrass Ranch Inc., in a statement.