Bronson purchases former Kalamazoo Gazette building

Bronson Healthcare has increased its ability to expand its administrative and support functions with the purchase of the former site of the Kalamazoo Gazette.

There are no immediate plans for redeveloping the property. Instead, the hospital will move in as specific uses are identified and as patient care areas expand in the hospital's current locations downtown.

"Bronson's strategic facility plan is continuously evolving as we strive to achieve the most efficient use of space on our hospital campuses," says Mike Way, of Bronson Healthcare. "With more patients than ever choosing Bronson for care, it is important to retain capacity within our hospital facilities to expand clinical functions, when needed." Way is senior vice president supply chain, facilities and real estate.

The Kalamazoo Gazette property at 401 S. Burdick St. is a three-story, 131,419-square-foot structure that has been vacant since 2012 when the newspaper and MLive Media Group relocated to 306 S. Kalamazoo Mall. The $2.2 million purchase includes the single-story 5,353-square-foot building at 423 S. Burdick St., formerly occupied by Business Review West Michigan, and a parking lot.

Bronson has both for-profit and not-for-profit business units. If not-for-profit services or departments are relocated to the Gazette building, the property taxes would be reduced in proportion to the amount of the facility they occupy. Till then, taxes amount to $120,000 per year.

The original structure dates back to 1925 and was designed by architect Albert Kahn, who also designed the Upjohn Company headquarters building donated to Bronson by Pfizer in 2005.

The proximity of these buildings directly across John Street from Bronson Methodist Hospital's North Pavilion, makes them an ideal addition to the hospital campus, Way says. It also connects them to the ever-growing health and sciences corridor that Bronson anchors in the South Town district.

Bronson Heathcare's reinvestment in downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods can also be seen in its partnerships, with WMU and Borgess Health in the development of the medical school and with KVCC, and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to create a new health-focused campus are further examples of Bronson's reinvestment in downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Bronson Healthcare system now has 65 facilities with 3.1 million square feet across Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Van Buren counties, and contributes $2.4 million in local property taxes each year. It has 7,700 employees, more than 1,000 medical staff members, and nearly 800 licensed beds, making it the largest employer and healthcare system in Southwest Michigan.

"Over the coming years, redeveloping this landmark property to its highest and best use is another reflection of Bronson's longstanding commitment to the community," says Bronson Healthcare president and CEO Frank Sardone. "As the area's largest employer, we care deeply about the vitality of downtown Kalamazoo and will continue to do all we can to catalyze its growth and reinvest in its future."

Source: Bronson Healthcare