Ochsner building new clinic at The Grove, vacating Baton Rouge General facility

Ochsner Health System is continuing to expand its footprint in the Capital Region with plans for a new, 210,000-square-foot clinic that will front Interstate 10 on a 16-acre tract in The Grove, Richard Carmouche’s mixed-use development behind the Mall of Louisiana.

The new clinic will replace Ochsner’s existing clinic on Summa Avenue at Baton Rouge General Medical Center’s Bluebonnet Boulevard campus. Ochsner officials say they have outgrown the 146,000-square-foot building on Summa Avenue, which opened in 1996, and have been looking to expand.

But in a statement, Ochsner Health System President and CEO Warner Thomas also notes that Baton Rouge General “will end our lease at that location in 2019.”

Baton Rouge General spokeswoman Meghan Parrish says the hospital is terminating its lease with Ochsner because it needs the space for its own physicians and their services.

“As we’ve grown, our medical office tower is nearly at capacity and it’s become necessary to expand and relocate some of our busy physician practices and outpatient services,” she says.

The development comes a little more than a year after Ochsner and BRG announced plans for a strategic partnership that promised to transform health care in the region. Those plans fell through last fall, however, for a variety of reasons that were never entirely clear, and in December both health care companies announced they were parting ways. 

With Ochsner’s new facility, the former would-be partners will enjoy more of a rivalry—and within a stone’s throw from each other. Ochsner’s new facility will be located just on the other side of Bluebonnet Boulevard from the BRG campus. It will include a medical office building, ambulatory surgical center, retail space and nearly 900 parking spaces, according to documents filed earlier this month with the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission by its development partner in the project, Stirling Properties.

Thomas says the new facility will enable Ochsner “to meet the growing demand for our services in the greater Baton Rouge area.” He declines to provide additional details, noting the project is still in the very early stages.

Carmouche, who has been working on The Grove for years and has developed two multifamily complexes and an assisted living complex on the site, says he is thrilled with Ochsner’s plans for the property.

“They make a great addition to the development,” he says. “They fit the concept of the neighborhood, which is mixed-use, so they bring an element that will supply people, who will create demand for hotels, apartments, restaurants and retail. They bring more than just a health care facility.”

Ochsner has not yet acquired the property from Carmouche. But he says the health care company has a purchase agreement on the site that includes eight additional acres besides those planned for the clinic. He expects to close on the sale soon, and says plans call for construction to begin as early as this summer.

—Stephanie Riegel

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