|Valley Children’s Healthcare has entered into negotiations to purchase a 4.54-acre parcel in North Merced to create a specialty medical building. The Merced City Council unanimously approved the agreement at its Monday meeting. The proposed purchase price is $2.1 million. The property is the former police headquarters site on the northwest corner of Yosemite Avenue and Mansionette Drive.
“This is a great addition to the medical landscape,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jill McLeod, a nurse practitioner. “Valley Children’s is a name that parents and doctors have trusted for decades, with caring, knowledgeable staff and excellent service. We are very fortunate to have them expanding their operations in Merced.”
Each year, more than 14,000 children from Merced County are cared for by Valley Children’s team of pediatric specialists. Since 1989, Valley Children’s has provided outpatient support at Olivewood Specialty Care Center. Today, only 23% of outpatient visits are able to be made in Merced. A new pediatric primary and specialty care medical office in the city will expand that figure to 90%.
“As demands for pediatric services in Merced continue to grow, we are committed to keeping as many families as close to home as possible,” says Valley Children’s Healthcare President and CEO Todd Suntrapak. “Our ultimate goal is to have every family throughout the Valley be within 30 minutes or 30 miles from a Valley Children’s pediatric doctor, because that is what is best for kids and their families.”
“This ties in well to our existing medical community,” said Economic Development Director Frank Quintero. “Mercy Medical Center is just blocks away, Golden Valley Health Center will be around the corner and we have other medical facilities nearby.”
Since 1989, Valley Children’s has operated a pediatric specialty care center in the City of Merced and since 1996, it has owned and operated a level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Mercy Medical Center. Valley Children’s Healthcare is one of the biggest pediatric healthcare networks in the country, serving more than 1.3 million children in 12 counties throughout Central California and the Central Coast.
The new outpatient center in Merced will offer several pediatric specialties, including pediatric cardiology and pediatric neurology. The first phase of the building would be 15,000 to 20,000 square feet and could grow to 40,000 square feet as demand for pediatric services increases.
It’s expected to have 50 to 60 full-time equivalent employees at build-out with salaries and benefits of $4 to $5 million.
Quintero said the purchase is just the first step in a long process before the medical center is constructed and opened. “We will help them move through the planning and permitting process as quickly as possible, but Valley Children’s has several other projects ahead of us, so it will take some time before they have this one shovel-ready.”
The City purchased the property in 2010 with the intention of building the new police headquarters on the site. Construction was put on hold during the Great Recession and subsequently the site was re-evaluated and it was determined that the location wasn’t the best for a police station. The City purchased the Merced Sun-Star property on G Street for the police headquarters and decided to surplus the Yosemite Avenue land.