Northside Regeneration's development of the former Pruitt Igoe site has started with a 3 room, 19 bed hospital that has been named Homer G. Phillips. When it was originally unveiled, the facility was known as the Northside Urgent Care Hospital, but since then, the project has changed a bit to be more of a true micro hospital than an urgent care, which is of benefit to the surrounding area.
Taking a look inside of the facility, being built near Jefferson and Cass, reveals a state-of-the-art facility to treat patients. There are three rooms dedicated to inpatient services, or overnight stays with one room being able to hold two patients. In total, there are four inpatient beds. Towards the emergency room, there are three rooms that can hold 4 beds each so that patients can be taken care of and monitored at similar times or at the same time. One room includes two beds for those who need immediate care (emergencies), and another room with one bed is dedicated for behavioral health. In total, the micro hospital will have 19 beds to help fulfill the healthcare needs of people who need the services.
Elsewhere in the hospital, hook ups for dialysis machines are included as well as rooms for CT scans, X-Rays, and MRIs. There will be two nursing stations, the largest one focused around the Emergency Room operations, which is where 15 of the 19 beds in the hospital will be. Ambulances will be able to access the Emergency Room via a dedicated entrance off of Jefferson and the new Thomas Street Extension, which is pictured at the beginning of this post.
Under an amended ordinance with the City, construction on the hospital has to be completed by September in order for the Northside Regeneration development agreement to remain in place. At this point, construction is set to hit that target with the hospital opening to patients beginning in the 4th Quarter.
Homer G. Phillips's name holds a special place in St. Louis history as it was the first hospital built in St. Louis that served African American patients during the time of racial segregation. The original hospital served the community from 1937 through 1979 and was known to have trained the largest number of black doctors and nurses in the world. The old Homer G. Phillips Hospital is in the Ville neighborhood and was redeveloped in 2003 into Senior Apartments. The new hospital carries on the name and tradition of the original Homer G. Phillips Hospital by providing healthcare services and opportunities to a neighborhood that is predominantly African American.
While the new hospital is small, it gets the job done and fulfills a need in an area that's presently a desert for basic services. The introduction of a new hospital on the former site of a notorious public housing project and subsequent urban forest is a start to a much larger development. It is unclear at this point if a micro hospital will be too little or too much for the community, but the need was identified and built as a result.
Homer G. Phillips Hospital is one of a few components developed by M Property Services as part of the Northside Regeneration project. Additional components are planned, but I cannot elaborate at this time on those plans. The ultimate end goal is to create workplaces that attract employees who would in turn fill new homes and apartments in the area, creating a mixed-use neighborhood that hasn't existed for decades. The hope is that the new Homer G. Phillips Hospital, Ponce Health Sciences University, and the new NGA West campus will lead to a greater revitalization of the surrounding area.
While select members of the public have grown frustrated by the apparent lack of progress on the Northside Regeneration project, most don't seem to understand the complexity of such a project like this. You're not just dealing with a few blocks, you're dealing with well over 500 acres of the City that has received little to no investment for decades. This means the infrastructure is aging, and even failing in parts. Areas that can be saved most likely will be, but those that are so far gone will eventually disappear to make way for new investment and development. Progress takes time. Things don't just happen overnight, especially in a part of the City where the real estate market really hasn't been tested for mass-redevelopment and development.
Northside Regeneration still has a ways to go till the promises are fulfilled, but in recent years, there's been more activity. The introduction of the Zoom Gas Station and Green Leaf Market on Tucker, the Homer G. Phillips Hospital, and landing the Next NGA West all inch the Northside Regeneration project forward a bit, and create anchors to branch off of, especially the NGA.
When Homer G. Phillips opens to patients in the 4th Quarter, they'll be treated in a facility that's exceptional for it's small size, providing the neighborhood with an amenity that will be beneficial in the long run.
See inside the new Homer G. Phillips Hospital during this part of the construction process (framing and enclosure).