- The Federal Aviation Administration has given its authorization for the developers of the $1 billion Vertical Medical City (VMC) in Orlando, Florida, to build the tallest part of the complex 444 feet above ground level and, technically, into Orlando International Airport’s airspace. This will make VMC the tallest development in downtown Orlando, according to the Orlando Business Journal, surpassing the Suntrust Tower by just a few feet.
- The FAA’s maximum height decision landed about 100 feet less than developer Ponte Health originally requested in its Notice of Proposed Construction. The company wanted to build three structures at the VMC site — a critical care tower to 300 feet, a non-critical care tower to 540 feet and a third tower to a height of 450 feet — but the FAA determined that a height of 444 feet would not interfere with air traffic. The agency’s conditions of approval are that Ponte mark and/or light the structure according to agency standards, report any lighting malfunctions immediately and notify the FAA within five days of the project reaching maximum height.
- Ponte will now move forward with preconstruction testing and master planning, which Tutor Perini Building Corp. will head up. The project will be privately financed and is expected to include assisted-living residential units and an urgent-care center, in addition to other medical services and facilities. Construction could start as early as this summer and wrap up in 2023.
Medical cities are typically healthcare centers that offer a wide range of services, levels of care, medical offices, research space and specialty medical facilities. Not too far from the planned Vertical Medical City, for instance, is Lake Nona Medical City, which is home to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, a University of Florida research and education facility, University of Central Florida’s (UCF) health sciences campus, Nemours Children’s Hospital, health innovation and wellness centers, sports and performance specialists and residential communities.
In October, HCA North Florida and UCF broke ground on the $175 million Lake Nona Medical Center, a teaching hospital that is slated to open at Lake Nona Medical City in 2020.
Also under construction now is a $107 million patient tower at Medical City Plano in Plano, Texas. The new building will provide beds for up to 90 patients and add to the health center’s other offerings, which include a trauma center, inpatient and outpatient rehab, burns clinic, robotic and general surgery, cancer services and heart and vascular care. The new tower should be finished by this fall.