Selma: University Health Buys Land at Retama Park as Racetrack Reduces its Footprint
Feature Photo: Aerial view of the Retama Park. The land within the red border is being acquired by University Health. There is also a tentative option to acquire the area within the yellow border. Image: Google Earth/VBX graphic.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Selma (Bexar County) — The Board of Managers of University Health recently agreed to two real estate acquisitions to ensure the county hospital district will be able to expand as needed in the future.
One acquisition expands the land area of a site the hospital district purchased last year. The second acquisition is for new land that will change the Retama Park grounds as visitors have come to know it.
On March 30, the Bexar County Hospital District Board of Managers (directors of University Health) agreed to contract with Pinnacle Retama Partners LLC and Retama Development Corporation to purchase 42.5 acres of real property. The contract price is $11,570,625.
A portion of that land, a little over 14 acres, is undeveloped. It is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Lookout Road and Retama Parkway.
However, in order to assemble 42.5 acres, Retama Park is abandoning the north section of its visitor parking lot, and most of the horse stables that make up the west column of stables; there are two columns of stables parallel to each other that stand to the west of the racetrack.
In addition to the 42.5 acres, there is also an option to acquire more land. The briefing paper presented to the board also states, “the seller also has an adjacent tract of approximately 6.4 acres that University Health could acquire a right of first offer, if he determines to sell that parcel.”
The 6.4 acres mentioned is occupied by the remaining stables that comprise the west column.
The west column of stables as seen from the north end of the Retama Park parking lot, and the vacant land to the north (left) will all be part of a University Health purchase. Image: Google Streets.
The decision to acquire the land is an outcome of a study done by Blue Cottage Consulting Inc. on behalf of the hospital district. Blue Cottage conducted a market analysis and population healthcare assessment for the San Antonio area and found a significant population of patients in northeast Bexar County that meet the criteria for a suburban hospital environment.
Their findings also found strategic partners that work with the health system’s medical school.
A regional University Health hospital in Selma would reduce the current hospital bed census at the main campus by an average of about 14 beds daily, “thus increasing capacity for more complex cases from around Bexar County that are done elsewhere,” the report concluded.
University Health public relations manager, Shelley Kofler, told VBX that, “In an effort to provide services closer to where Bexar County residents live, and to reserve our hospital for the most critical medical needs, we are preparing for future expansion. These are long-range projects. We do not currently have designs for the hospitals.”
The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the need for University Health to provide multiple sites of access for acute care services within the county. Certain sub-markets remain underserved for basic healthcare services by University Health or competitors, which forces patients on those areas to travel to the UH main campus.
The site search and land acquisition is being handled by local real estate group TAB Services Inc., whose principals are Edward B. Kelley and Robert A. Wehrmeyer. This is the same firm that helped acquire a 80-acre tract along West Loop 1604 North and Shaenfield Road last year; 36 acres of the 80 acquired have been identified as a ‘Development Tract.’
The Board of Managers on March 30 acted to purchase 15.83 acres that is adjacent to the 80 acres in west Bexar County, a tract that is off North Loop 1604 near the New Guilbeau Road/Braun Road exit and north of the first purchase.
“This tract is appropriately zoned for medical uses, has over 2,000 feet of frontage on Loop 1604, and has sufficient capacity of utilities for medical use development. The total purchase is $5,689,186,” the report to the board states.
Blue Cottage estimated the a facility at this site could reduce the bed census at the main campus by an average of about 25 beds daily.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.