Meeting will discuss next steps for old Groves hospital’s potential sale

Published 12:26 am Saturday, May 13, 2023

GROVES — On May 23, officials with the City of Groves will host a workshop with a local businessman who is in the process of purchasing what once was Renaissance Hospital.

Interim City Manager Lance Billeaud said the workshop, which begins at 5 p.m. at City Hall, will give councilmembers an opportunity to talk with Brett Smith regarding his requests from the city where tax abatements are concerned.

The property at 500 39th St. is under contract and pending sale approval, Billeaud said.

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The property, which was opened as Doctors Hospital, closed in April 2013 following a change in ownership that led to employee complaints and an investigation by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

It was bought and sold several times before being acquired by The Medical Center of Southeast Texas in 2017. Maintenance of the property belongs to the hospital’s parent company, Steward Health.

However, in the near-decade that it has sat vacant, the building has been the site of multiple crimes.

“We’ve made numerous calls over the years regarding the vagrants coming in the building and either staying or removing property,” said City Marshal Norman Reynolds. “I’m glad to see it’s finally being sold. I know our past city manager was very instrumental in getting that resolved, so we are very grateful for that.”

Several arrests have been made regarding copper theft. Additional lighting was added to the near-15 acres to help deter criminal activity.

Prior to leaving office in January after nearly 20 years, former City Manager D.E. Sosa said Smith had been working on acquiring the property for two years. He said Smith intends to demolish the building that’s on the site and form an assisted living facility.

“It’s not a full-fledged assisted living center,” Sosa told Port Arthur Newsmedia. “But it’s a place where your mom can go if she still drives, she doesn’t want to take care of a big house, she’s a widow, her kids want to come see her every once in a while, and someone comes to remind her to take her medicine. But she’s still mobile, she still shops, she’s got a car and she needs a place to park it.”

He also said it’s a niche that needs to be filled in the city.