Mercy to sell former hospital

Property has been outpatient-only facility since 2008

Knoxville hospital operator Mercy Health Partners said Monday it will sell its Blount Avenue property as it moves forward with plans to open a $2.3 million diagnostic and physician center in South Knoxville.

The health system has hired commercial real estate giant CB Richard Ellis and local real estate firm Lawler-Wood to market the former Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee site, which has 535,000 square feet of building space in the 100 block of Blount Avenue.

"We've entered into an agreement with CB and Lawler-Wood to advise us on the best way to dispose of the property," said Jeff Potter, Mercy senior vice president of planning and development.

The 22.9-acre Blount Avenue site has remained as an outpatient-only facility called Mercy Riverside since Mercy Health Partners closed the hospital in 2008. It overlooks Fort Loudoun Lake and the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium and is at the center of Knoxville's waterfront redevelopment area.

Meanwhile, about four miles away Mercy plans to convert a former Food City store off Chapman Highway into 37,000-square-feet of medical office space that is expected to open in September.

The new center, to be called Mercy South, will be located at 7323 Chapman Highway, just north of the Chapman Highway/John Sevier Highway intersection.

Potter said the location will provide more extensive services than currently available on Blount Avenue, including CT scanner, X-ray, ultrasound, mammography, bone density and lab services as well as providing primary care and specialty doctors' offices.

David Jimenez, Mercy Health Partners president and CEO, described it as "a centralized location for providing medical services in the rapidly growing South Knoxville area."

In a statement, Jimenez said beginning the work on marketing the Riverside campus is consistent with Mercy's long-term strategic plan, which has been approved by its board.

Mercy had announced in 2008 that it would build a $400 million replacement facility on the site of the Baptist flagship hospital if certain financial benchmarks were met. Last summer, it shelved those plans.

Potter declined to say what the downtown property is valued at, but it will be marketed on local, state and national levels. There are no imminent buyers at this time but Potter said physicians will be given at least six months of advanced notice before any changes are made to their lease agreements.

If a buyer for the property is found, all health-care services will be relocated to other Mercy facilities and support services will be moved to other space.

Mercy Health, whose parent company is Cincinnati-based Catholic Healthcare Partners, was formed in January 2008 with the merger of St. Mary's and Baptist health systems.

The health-care system operates seven acute care hospitals and 20 other health-care facilities across East Tennessee.

Business writer Carly Harrington may be reached at 865-342-6317.

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Comments » 10

PepperGrinder (Inactive) writes:

If only gambling was legal in Tennessee that would make one great casino. Would create tons of jobs too as well as bring tourists in. Let's face it playing on machines in cherokee gets old. Why not have one in our own backyard?

Thenametagdotcom writes:

Quarry of the Holy Kudzu Workhouse for Poor Orphans, Operated by Vulcan Materials or RInker.

Frapples writes:

I put that thing up for sale when I worked for Baptist, and they got all upset. Now I want my commission. 3% will do.
And making it into anything that people live in will be cost prohibitive. They will have to clean out 60 years of assorted body fluids, germs, and nastiness out of the walls and floors.
For Sale:
Building used formerly as a hospital, has cathedral ceiling in it's very own cathedral, (unused for a long time by administration types); excellent views of the river and any bodies that float by, extremely difficult helipad to land on, water leaks, great view of boomsday (always was good for the dementia patients!) Suitable for condo's for people with outstanding immune systems, and urban explorers.
Come see today, mask included!!!

deerman writes:

More condos on the way. Look for the Conley boys to be in the thick of this with a request for development money from the taxpayers. My guess is this deal has been done for a good while.

Thenametagdotcom writes:

Push it into the river, forming a nice recycled causeway. Brought to you by Mike and Bill's Excellent Adventure in public private "partnership"

WilliamDawes writes:

Historically, before it was a hospital, that site was a large urban park. Maybe it should be again.

EastKnox writes:

This was posted yesterday and I found it quite amusing. This person running for County Commission wants the county to buy Baptist to use as housing and services for the homeless. I can think of many reasons to say "NOT".

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/mar...

http://www.volunteertv.com/opinions/h...

dbdbdo writes:

Open another convention center.

paradisetaxi writes:

the government should buy and turn into a VETERNS HOSPITAL

wjason#256501 writes:

Another hospital ought to buy it, reopen it, and take the patients from Mercy. They screwed us in South Knox. They need screwed too.

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