Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital expansion underway

(Courtesy Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital)
(Courtesy Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital)

(Courtesy Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital)

As many health care facilities in the Greater Houston area are seeing furloughs and layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic, Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital in Nassau Bay is in the middle of an expansion with sights set on future growth.

In December, the facility at 18300 Houston Methodist Drive, Houston, broke ground on what will become the campus's fourth medical office. Despite the pandemic, the six-story, 150,000-square-foot building is on schedule to open in May 2021, said Dan Newman, CEO and senior vice president of the hospital.

"It's progressing nicely," he said.

On the first floor, the new building will have physical therapy and an outdoor sports complex for patients to exercise. There will also be an aquatic center, which can be helpful to recent surgery patients who have trouble putting weight on certain parts of their bodies, Newman said.

On the second floor will be orthopedic physicians and six surgeons for hands, feet, joints and other areas. The third through sixth floors will be offices for future physician recruitment, including a cardiologist and a neurosurgeon, he said.

The hospital ended 2019 with 37 physicians. Officials anticipate having about 75 doctors on campus at least part time by 2025, Newman said.

"We have a number of services we believe we do very well,” he said. "We will continue to recruit doctors.”

Other work has been completed at the hospital campus, and other projects have yet to begin.

In late 2018, the hospital bought a Fuddruckers along East NASA Parkway. In late 2019, it closed, and the hospital demolished it to make way for an improved entrance driveway into the campus, which was completed early this year, Newman said.

The idea with the new entrance was not only to make getting to the campus easier but to make the hospital more visible. Before, motorists would see Fuddruckers and the hospital behind it; now, the hospital is more prominent, Newman said.

Fuddruckers is not the only business affected by the hospital's growth; Mediterraneo Market & Cafe, Viola & Agnes' Neo Soul Cafe and Java Owl Coffee House are three additional restaurants that have closed or will close or relocate before the hospital demolishes the strips they reside in, Newman said.

The strips are on the north and south sides of the office under construction, and the hospital wants them gone, he said.

"We’re doing that so we have adequate parking for that new building," he said.

The southern building, which houses Neo Soul Cafe, will be demolished in June. The northern building, which houses Mediterraneo and Java Owl, will be demolished in early 2021.

All businesses have known from the beginning the hospital's plans. One of the businesses, Erma's Nutrition Center, has already relocated within Nassau Bay, Newman said.

"Certainly we wanna keep all of them in our community," he said.

Nothing is official yet, but in the next 12-18 months, Newman believes Houston Methodist will have direction on a possible expansion to the actual hospital. Since hospital expansions take years to approve and build, the goal is to have an expansion underway before the hospital is at capacity with health care workers, Newman said.

"If you wait until you’re at capacity, you probably waited too long," he said.
By Jake Magee

Editor, Bay Area & Pearland/Friendswood

Jake has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper. Today, he covers everything from aerospace to transportation to flood mitigation.