Banner Health has scrapped plans to build a hospital in Gilbert across the street from a competitor.
Less than six months after announcing it wanted to build Banner Gilbert Medical Center, the company said Thursday it had withdrawn its application.
The 120-bed hospital would have been on the west side of Val Vista Drive, just south of the future Santan Freeway stretch of Loop 202.
Catholic Healthcare West received final approval last month to build Gilbert Medical Campus on the opposite side of Val Vista Drive. It will be the town’s first hospital.
"What we’d have is two facilities with the same services and size within 500 feet of one another," Banner spokesman Dan Green said. "We concluded this just didn’t make sense."
Banner Health announced in July that it was purchasing 40 acres on Val Vista Drive with full knowledge that Catholic Healthcare was planning a hospital across the street. At that time, the company was abandoning its hospital site near Ray and Greenfield roads to build on a site with better freeway access.
Green said the company will continue to explore options in Gilbert.
"It is an important market for us . . . and we don’t want to rule anything out," Green said.
Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman and other town officials were supportive of seeing both hospitals open to serve the growing population.
"Of course we’re disappointed," Berman said. "We were looking forward to having the largest medical campus in Arizona."
David Covert is president and CEO of Catholic Healthcare’s Chandler Regional Hospital and head of the Gilbert planning team. He said Banner’s decision will not affect his company’s plans.
"The good news is Gilbert will still have a hospital," Covert said. "We have been focusing on our project pretty intently the last six months and have made a lot of progress."
Covert said site improvements could begin late next month with the hospital opening in late 2005 or early 2006. Banner had similar projected opening dates.
Banner Health is a Phoenix-based company that operates four Mesa hospitals, including Banner Desert Medical Center, formerly Desert Samaritan Hospital, as well as Banner Mesa Medical Center, Banner Baywood Medical Center and Banner Baywood Heart Hospital, both in Mesa. It also owns Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. Banner took over the the former Samaritan and Lutheran hospitals.
San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare operates Chandler Regional Hospital, as well as St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Barrow Neurological Institute, both in Phoenix.
Banner’s latest site was in a county island surrounded by Gilbert, and the company initially decided to file its rezoning application with Maricopa County to avoid any chance of a referendum. Last month, Banner withdrew its county application and filed with Gilbert.
Green declined to speculate on future plans at either the Val Vista Drive or Ray and Greenfield roads site. The latter site near a planned regional mall and railroad tracks was purchased by Lutheran Health Systems in 1999, which merged with Banner later that year.