Med Center Expecting Massive Growth

The Texas Medical Center could add 30,000 new jobs and become one of the nation's largest central business districts in the next few years. That according to Med Center officials who say member institutions are pumping close to $7 billion dollars into new projects between now and 2014. Here's more from Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams.

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The Texas Medical Center already employs more than 70,000 workers, a number that could grow quickly as the city and county add around 2 million residents between now and 2025. TMC senior vice president John Kajander says the potential job growth is astounding.

"We expect between now and the end 2014 that number to increase an additional 30,000 employees, which is obviously very significant. It moves our total number of employees in the Medical Center in the various institutions of over 100,000 employees."

The Texas Medical Center is already the largest medical complex in the world, with buildings totaling more than 28 million gross square feet, larger than downtowns in San Antonio, El Paso and Ft. Worth combined. With 60 projects planned between now and 2014, Kajander says the TMC could become one of the top ten largest central business districts in the nation.

"We're looking at adding an additional over 12 million gross square feet to the Texas Medical Center. That's exclusive of parking structures. If you added the parking structures into it, it would be an additional 8 million square feet. That's over the next seven years or so. That would be comparable to adding an additional 7.5 Williams Towers, the Transco Tower."ξ

About two-thirds of that growth will take place outside what is traditionally known as the Med Center's main campus, including several projects south of Old Spanish Trail. Kajander says the expansion doesn't come without concerns.

"With our growth, there's an increasing need for us to be working with state, federal, local, community officials, with Metro, with community groups and neighborhoods to make sure that we're able to grow in a manner that is smart, that doesn't negatively affect the communities in which we surround and continues to enhance the South Main region. Our member institutions are working very hard with a number of community groups and neighborhoods. We're working very closely with the city and the county to make sure that this growth is done appropriately."ξξξξξξ

Most of the expansion will be in response to what's expected to be a growing need for medical care for aging baby boomers. Texas Medical Center president and CEO Dr. Richard Wainerdi says the 46 member institutions have a huge task ahead.

"For us, the community is not just the ten counties around here. We provide about 70-percent of the care in the ten counties, but almost 40 percent of the people who come here come from outside those ten counties, from throughout the state of Texas, the United States and the world. So basically what you're seeing is the development of basically a city of care, which is what the founders envisioned."ξ

In 2008, TMC institutions plan 26 new construction starts totaling six million square feet.ξξξξξξ

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