ST. PETERSBURG — Edward White Hospital, closed four years ago because of declining revenues, has been sold to developer Grady Pridgen for $2.7 million.
Pridgen could not be reached Monday for comment. City officials said he has submitted plans for remodeling the three-story, 122,000-square foot hospital and adding an expansion on the north side for assisted living and memory care facilities.
In an interview last year, Pridgen said he became convinced of the need for more and better senior living facilities while trying to find a suitable place for his father. He recently developed a 140-bed assisted living facility in Brandon but the Tampa City Council last year denied zoning for a 175-bed facility he proposed for the Hyde Park area.
HCA West Florida announced in 2014 that it was closing Edward White, founded in the mid-1970s by a group of local physicians and named for astronaut Edward Higgins White, the first American to walk in space.
HCA acquired the 162-bed hospital in 1994 and just three years later rumors surfaced that it would be closed due to low occupancy and revenues. By 2013, Edward White had a $5.5 million operating deficit on top of a nearly $1.1 million shortfall from 2012. Its average occupancy that year was 28.6 percent, far lower than that of nearby rival St. Anthony’s.
Nationally, hospital admissions have declined as more patients undergo treatment in doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics and surgery centers.
Pridgen, once one of Tampa Bay’s best known developers, was stung by the 2008 financial crash but has bounced back with several projects.
In February, he paid $10 million for a vintage mobile home park on Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg where he has said he wants to build a "walkable" residential community with shops and recreation. He is considering townhomes for several acres he owns near the Gandy Bridge on the St. Petersburg side.
The purchase of Edward White closed earlier this year, records show. Pridgen’s company, St. Pete Senior Care LLC, has a $3.5 million mortgage on the property.
Pridgen is the second developer to see potential in the hospital site on the 2300 block of 9th Avenue N, an area where several new homes have recently gone up.
The seller was a company affiliated with Tampa’s Sight Real Estate, whose president, Michael Mincberg, bought the hospital three years ago for $2 million. At the time, Mincberg said part of the draw was its location overlooking Booker Creek.
Mincberg has since redeveloped the old Euclid elementary school near downtown St. Petersburg into 14 apartments.
Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.