Group to renovate, revitalize former hospital
KENNETT, Mo. (KAIT) - The mayor of Kennett announced Thursday a group has agreed to renovate and revitalize the former Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center.
According to a news release obtained by Region 8 News, “Main Street HealthVentures, a Billionaires Funding Group affiliate, in conjunction with support from the city and local banks, [plans] to renovate and revitalize the structure.”
Monica Tulley, CFO of Billionaires Funding Group, and Shaneel Lalani, CEO of Billionaires Funding Group, were on hand for Thursday’s announcement behind the former hospital.
“We saw this property come up for sale. Well, Shaneel did, and he purchased it,” Tulley said. “And then we sat around and we didn’t know what we were going to do with it for a while.”
So, they decided to ask the people of Kennett what they wanted.
“They said they needed and wanted their hospital back,” Tulley said.
Lalani said after speaking to the mayor and the city, everyone had positive things to say about the hospital.
“So we felt comfortable that, hey, we can investigate more and research more about this place, and ever since then, we have never looked back,” Lalani said.
The state requires a Certificate of Need approval to obtain a license to operate a medical facility, medical advisor Kerry Noble said.
On Thursday, a formal letter of intent was filed with the state of Missouri, which is the starting step.
“In which you describe the project," Noble said.. “The owners of the project, the operators of the project, and the estimated cost of the project.”
Noble then said 30 days after filing the letter of intent, a full application of the project is required.
That application has to include a full three-year financial projection on the financial viability of the project. That way, the state can determine the cost of the project and in terms of whether or not it meets with they deem as acceptable cost for a healthcare entity, Noble said.
Then, officials will go before the Certificate of Need committee in Jefferson City, at which time, they will be able to present the project to the state.
“Describe it and demonstrate the community need for the project,” Noble said. “Have letters of support from the community, from your state, local, and federal legislators.”
They will also have to demonstrate the financing is in place to support the project.
The community will be able to invest in the hospital, Noble said, through subscription offerings.
“We will develop what we all an investment fund, LLC,” Noble said. “And so people can buy into that fund just like a stock, a stock purchase or a purchase of a bond.”
Noble said anytime a medical facility is closed, then, you have to bring the building to updated facility and standards.
“The initial facility was built in 1948-49 and it opened in 1951, so we know there is a significant segment of this facility that is not going to meet those standards,” Noble said.
He said evaluations have already be performed and there has been some discussion with the state architect about whether waivers or exemptions can be filed on some of those standards.
Tulley said with the hospital being closed, it motives them to get it back up and running.
“Longer a building stays dormant, the faster it deteriorates,” Tulley said. Buildings are a living and breathing things."
Noble said there is a chance that part of the building will have to come down.
James Stanley Morris with Stan Morris Construction will be involved with the renovation of the building.
He said there has been five additions to the hospital since the 1950′s. Morris said about 50,000 square feet is newer then the rest of the building.
He said it may be necessary to tear down the 1950′s portion down.
“And if that’s the case then you know when we put a new facelift on it," Morris said. "If it’s not, then we’ll keep the same facade and add to it and fix it up.”
Mayor Dr. Chancellor Wayne said having the hospital back would be a major asset to Kennett.
Financially, he said the city relies on sales tax due because there is no personal property tax.
“So, whenever you go to Jonesboro for a doctor’s appointment, more then likely, you’re going out for lunch, or you’re buying gas, or you’re going to buy some groceries or something like that,” Mayor Wayne said. “Now if you don’t have to go there for that, you’re going to do it here.”
He said from a revenue side, the hospital being in Kennett is a good thing.
He also said it will help attract businesses to the city.
“I’ve personally been involved with showing a couple of businesses here in town, and you know one of their first questions is where’s your hospital," Mayor Wayne said.
With the hospital being in town, Mayor Wayne said it is going to be a big draw for businesses.
On the healthcare side, Mayor Wayne said it will give let people sleep easier at night.
“Knowing that there’s a great a facility right here close to them is going to be good for the surrounding communities,” Mayor Wayne said. “They’re going to be able to come here get an MRI and CAT scan get their lab work done, all those different aspects.”
Mayor Wayne was quoted as saying, “The City of Kennett is in full favor of the endeavors that the Billionaires Funding Group has shown to us.”
The decision comes after months of discussions, meetings and deliberations, according to the statement.
It concluded by stating that more than 70,000 residents in Kennett and the surrounding area will have access to “timely and effective healthcare.”
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