Extreme Makeover For Old Brooksville Hospital

BROOKSVILLE – From sanitized medical wards to luxury retirement apartments – the transformation of the old Brooksville Regional Hospital continues.

People traveling down Ponce deLeon Boulevard will notice two bright yellow and black banners tied with string to two trees in the front of the once-bustling medical complex. Emblazoned on the banners are these words:

“The Grande Luxury Retirement Living, opening Fall 2008.”

Once completed, the complex will have 75 new apartments, geared toward independent living, dining and deli.

The banner boasts of The Grande’s central location near parks and medical services. Most of the construction has centered around the assisted living facility portion of the new complex, Bill Rain, with Metro Bay Development, said in a letter to Michael McHugh, director of the county’s office of business development. The first floor is already about 50 percent framed with rough plumbing completed, according to Rain.

County Commissioner Rose Rocco said she is encouraged by the speed of the construction. The sooner it gets done, the faster people will find jobs there and stimulate economic growth downtown, she said.

Rocco believes that once The Grande is open, it will spur other businesses to locate in the vicinity.

County commissioners sold the old Brooksville Regional Hospital last year for $1.1 million.

The investors planned to pump $10 million to $13 million to modernize the building. The facility will contain a mix of uses, including an assisted living facility, office and medical buildings and a restaurant. The developer plans to lease space in the building to county employees, alleviating some of the space crunch at the existing courthouse at 20 North Main St.

The contract includes a performance agreement that requires the buyer to provide regular updates on redevelopment of the downtown site and to provide security for one year’s estimated property taxes should the project not proceed in a timely manner.

The contract also states that 11,000 square feet of existing office and warehouse space will continue to be used by the county fire department and remain under county ownership, until the board determines it is no longer needed.

To assure the project moves forward, the investment group took out a performance bond, or line of credit, for $150,000 until the building is completed. County commissioners opted to sell the building rather than spend the estimated $15 million to $20 million it would cost to renovate the building and convert it into a new government center, which had been considered at one point.

For more information on the project and an artist’s rendering, visit www.thegrande.net

Reporter Michael D. Bates can be reached at 352-544-5290 or [email protected].

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