Healthcare: Fort Worth may give tax incentives to medical center in Alliance area

By Aman Batheja for the Star Telegram

FORT WORTH — City officials may offer tax incentives to finalize a medical development in far north Fort Worth.

HCA Health Services of Texas hopes to build a 10,500-square-foot free-standing emergency department in the Alliance area at Interstate 35W and North Tarrant Parkway, according to city documents.

Robert Sturns, the city’s economic development manager, briefed City Council members Tuesday morning on a proposal to offer property tax incentives and waive development fees to help get the project going.

“You have an area that is really underserved in terms of medical services,” Sturns said.

The company, part of Nashville-based Hospital Corp. of America, expects to spend $8.9 million on the facility, which will include 11 examination rooms, a trauma room and a radiographic-fluoroscopic room, according to city documents.

If things go well, the company hopes to spend $40 million more to add a 60-bed hospital and medical office building to the campus.

The council is expected to vote next week on an incentive package worth about $102,600 for the first phase, most of it from the added tax revenue expected to be generated by the construction, Sturns said.

Incentive increase

The company would have to meet several guidelines, including investing at least $5.2 million on the property by 2012 and hiring at least 20 full-time employees, at least a quarter of them Fort Worth residents, according to city documents.

The incentives will increase if the company follows through on the second phase, city officials said.

Over 10 years, the incentives could equal 80 percent of the city’s incremental taxes on the site, according to city documents.

Councilman Sal Espino praised the project, which would be in his district.

“This is obviously to me a no-brainer,” Espino said. “That area really is underserved in terms of medical facilities, and this is another great project.”

Competition nearby

Arlington-based Texas Health Resources will begin construction on a 100-bed acute-care hospital next month at Alliance. It also has partnered with Dallas-based Cambridge Healthcare Properties to build a medical office building on the hospital campus. That construction will begin in the first quarter.

Sturns said Texas Health receives tax exemptions as a nonprofit.

“While the development is definitely a plus for the area,” he said, “they are not generating any additional tax value which could be utilized for an incentive agreement.”

Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report, which includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

[star-telegram.com]

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