Throughout its history, Friendswood residents have had to travel outside city limits to receive hospitalized care.

While there are several medical facilities in Friendswood—such as urgent, primary and pediatric care as well as emergency rooms—there are no hospitals in the city.

To resolve this, emergency care physician Suchmor Thomas is opening Friendswood Community Hospital, the first microhospital in the city, and expects it to be operating by late 2024.

“We believe the new hospital will enhance access to specialized care and improve overall health outcomes for residents,” Friendswood Deputy City Manager Steven Rhea said in a May 14 email.

The overview

Friendswood Community Hospital, located at 3201 FM 528, will offer specialized care typically found in the Texas Medical Center but not readily available in Friendswood, according to Thomas’ website.

The facility will include emergency care; cardiology, or heart care; gastroenterology, or digestive system care; pulmonary, or lung care; an internal medicine specialist; orthopedics, or bone care; and radiology.

Thomas said he wanted to open the hospital to bring these specialties to Friendswood and bring ER wait times down to less than five minutes.

Construction for the $25 million microhospital, which is a smaller, neighborhood-based hospital that offers similar services as a regular hospital, began in late 2023, Thomas said. It was formerly a Walgreens store.

Hospital details and features, Thomas said, include:
  • 25+ physicians
  • 40+ registered nurses
  • 75+ ancillary medical staff
  • 12 beds for ER
  • 3 beds for critical care
  • 5 beds for in-patient care

What they're saying

"The main thing is we are not hiding behind corporations," Thomas said. "It’s our name out there. We are community and family-oriented. We don’t shy away from anything.”

"[Thomas] wanted this to be a ... high-profile [facility]," said Stephen Wang, managing principal for BB&W Architects, the architect company for Friendswood Community Hospital. "The [hospital's design] was centered around the emergency and imaging, and everything fed off of that."

"Recent additions like Dr. Thomas' facilities and the hospital enhance the landscape, promoting potential further development to ensure health care accessibility and quality for all Friendswood residents," Rhea said.

Put in perspective

Estimates from real estate demographics firm CoStar show the hospital will be within 10 minutes of nearly 90,000 people. It’s projected that number will increase by 2.8% over the next five years, data from the firm shows.

In addition to being closer to people in the community, Thomas said his hospital will bring more than 100 jobs to the city, allowing more residents to both work and live in Friendswood. The hospital will also provide property tax revenue to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, Thomas said. However, he declined to specify what that exact amount might be since the hospital is not yet built.

In a May 21 email, Thomas talked about his efforts to bring other types of facilities into Friendswood as well. Those include memory care and medspa facilities that he opened in 2021 and 2023, respectively. He also plans to open senior living and assisted living facilities by 2024 and 2025, respectively.

Friendswood has no financial contributions to the hospital, but city officials said they appreciate Thomas’ contributions to the city.

“We ... believe [Thomas’] facilities are a great asset to the city,” Rhea said in an email.

What's next

While the original goal was to open the hospital by October, Thomas said he hopes to open by the end of the year. He said it has taken over a year to build the microhospital due to regulations and permitting.

As of late May, a visit to the site showed work on the interior had not yet begun and workers were still constructing the exterior.

On the architectural side, the development has come across challenges due to higher wind load and flooding requirements with the facility being in a “coastal area,” said Stephen Wang, managing principal for BB&W Architects. Supply chain prices have also affected construction, Wang said.

“There’s been some price escalation and supply chain challenges because we’re coming out of [the COVID-19 pandemic], [which delayed] certain materials,” Wang said. “Those are challenges that are faced by everybody.”