Friday, January 28, 2011

UMC, State Continue Hospital Push without Financing in Place, Seemingly Jeopardizing HUD Backing

Despite having the UMC Board's own financial consultant state recently that the construction and site preparation for the proposed hospital was way out ahead of financing realities, the State of Louisiana and UMC are apparently bulling ahead in the LSU Footprint regardless:

Three companies bid to manage University hospital construction

State officials will interview the bidding firms in February, with an announcement of the winner of the project management contract expected on March 24.

You'll recall that according to the UMC Board's own consultant..."as long as the state is pursuing the HUD insurance, the state cannot proceed with site preparation and construction without HUD's permission."

I hope HUD takes notice.  And I hope the firms bidding on the job understand the risk they're taking on - this hospital project is hundreds of millions of dollars away from being a reality.

The CityBusiness piece also, somewhat misleadingly, concludes with this:

Construction of the University Medical Center will coincide with the building of a new Veterans Affairs hospital in the same Mid-City footprint.

No, actually the construction of the UMC will not likely coincide with the building of the new VA hospital.  Site preparation and funding in the VA Footprint are a completely different story - construction of VA will likely start far before UMC gets underway, if UMC ever gets underway. 

Furthermore, the two proposed hospitals are in the same overall Mid-City footprint, but it should be noted that the two hospitals are separate.  They are not joint hospitals as originally conceived.  The acreage being used for the two hospitals went from 37 acres to 67 acres in 2007 when they were suddenly no longer both sited on what is now the LSU Footprint.


Admittedly, my argument above is an indirect one - that moving forward with an expenditure and hiring a construction manager will lead to the actual unwise result - construction before financing is known.

Here's something else that happened today in the LSU Footprint, though, that shows a broader disregard for the consultant's warning - a physical site preparation step forward that would seem to overtly jeopardize HUD funding based on what the financial consultant said and what the Times-Pic reported.

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