Houston Methodist St. John Hospital expects in the spring to begin some demolition work and more improvements at a popular Nassau Bay shopping center it acquired last year.
Work won’t begin until it moves The Yoga Institute into a new space in the two-story part of the center. Demolition, which could begin in May, would involve the center portion of the building in the 18000 block of Upper Bay Road.
Houston Methodist St. John will replace part of the building demolished with green space that would be used for such activities as a farmers market.
Crews will begin landscaping and will resurface and re-stripe the entire parking lot once the heavy equipment from demolition is gone, officials said.
“We’re happy with the total project,” Nassau Bay City Manager Jason Reynolds said. “When they rehabilitate the parking lot, and put in green space and landscaping, they’ll transform the entire view off Upper Bay into Methodist hospital.”
What’s unusual is how closely Houston Methodist St. John is working with the city to help meet its long-term aesthetic vision for Nassau Bay, a quiet community off NASA Parkway that’s witnessing unprecedented growth with the development of its town square.
“They’re trying to be a good neighbor,” Reynolds said. “Everybody here seems to want to work together.”
Houston Methodist St. John plans also to landscape around the parking lot.
All the plans fall in line with Nassau Bay’s desire to be a visually appealing, walkable — and golf-cart friendly — community.
Much of the city’s aesthetic is influenced by the development of Nassau Bay Town Square, where construction has been completed on a 125-room Marriott Hotel, two retail centers, an office building and a 300-unit luxury apartment complex. Also planned are two fast-food restaurants and another four-story office building.
The 600,000-square-foot project is expected to be completed in 2019, city officials have said.
When Houston Methodist bought the Nassau Bay Shopping center, it initially raised concerns among residents who feared some of their favorite local businesses would be forced to leave. The hospital bought the more than 8-acre property with the idea of eventually using the land for its own purposes, CEO Dan Newman said.
The development isn’t on a fast track, however, Newman said.
The hospital is looking 10 years down the line. In the meantime, the hospital is making improvements to the aging property that would benefit the retail and restaurant tenants.
In seven to 10 years, the hospital could begin using the property for such purposes as medical office building space, a parking garage or a hospital central utility plant, which houses things such as chillers, cooling towers and water pumps, Newman has said.
Houston Methodist St. John Hospital already has invested more than $750,000 in improvements at the shopping center.
In February 2014, Houston Methodist entered into a joint venture with Christus Health Care to operate St. John’s Hospital. The joint venture committed $15 million over two years to invest in the campus to improve services and infrastructure.
The old shopping center is home to Erma’s Nutrition, The Yoga Institute, Mediterraneo Market & Café, among others.
City officials already are working to find new spaces for some shopping center tenants with the hope of keeping them in Nassau Bay, Reynolds has said.
The hospital expansion will reflect the needs of the community, Newman said. The shopping center is the only property contiguous with the hospital’s campus.
“We want to meet the needs of the community over time,” Newman said.