The 600,000-square-foot former Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center complex on Herring Avenue remains on the market almost 18 months after the facility was decommissioned by Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, which occupies a new location at West Loop 340 and Interstate 35.
Health system officials said in February 2016 the buildings would fall to the wrecking ball if it were not sold within three years.
“Several different prospects have looked at the property, but we’re not anywhere close to an agreement,” said Glenn Robinson, president of Baylor Scott & White in Waco. “We have made a commitment to the community, and we’re working hard to find a buyer. The best possible solution would be repurposing that building. But if we have not found a user by 2019, we will begin preparations to raze it. That remains the game plan.”
Robinson said Baylor Scott & White Health has its own real estate professionals who are marketing the structure nationally.
The property is not being marketed online, and a firm asking price has not been established, Robinson said.
“All the building’s systems are in good condition and in good working order,” Robinson said. “But how a hospital is configured always makes it challenging to find a buyer. It could not be used by any organization that needs a lot of open square footage. Clearing space inside could prove cost prohibitive. A prospect might think new construction made more sense.”
The prospects who have visited the site have asked to keep their interest confidential, he said.
Converting the complex into micro-apartments for the public “sounds like a viable idea to me, but we have not found anyone willing to take on a project of that size,” Robinson said. “I also believe it could fit into someone’s strategy for a retirement location, but that remains to be seen.”
The hospital in North Waco served as the hub of what was then known as Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center from 1920 to 2009, when the new campus was built. Over the decades, the original building was expanded many times, creating a maze of hallways that spawned inefficiency.
Leaving the site was expected to save $2.5 million to $3 million a year, Robinson said ahead of the move last year.