Options Abound as El Paso Healthcare Real Estate Market Expands
Healthcare facilities have become a mainstream investment asset class for private and institutional investors over the last decade. Healthcare assets with strong credit tenancy and on-campus locations are now fetching record pricing.
Pressure from consumers, federal and state legislation and fiscal responsibility are driving changes in the delivery of healthcare services. Significant consolidation is occurring in the form of acquisitions and affiliations. The most visible and tangible change to the consumer has been the proliferation of urgent care facilities.
Other drivers of healthcare facility construction include hospital operators pushing for their brands and facilities to be more convenient to the consumer. Increased focus on preventative care and consumers’ desire for quick and convenient access to services near work or home plays a role as well.
These trends are relevant and visible in the 2017 El Paso healthcare market.
Population Growth Leads
Historically, El Paso ranks among the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas, averaging decade-over-decade growth of 21 percent from 1960 to 2010. The MSA, composed of El Paso County and the more recently added Hudspeth County, is projected to hit nearly 883,000 residents by 2019.
In 2014, when El Paso data was combined with data from sister city Ciudad Juárez and Las Cruces, whose populations exceed 1.4 million and 217,000, respectively, the greater El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces region boasted an estimated combined statistical area of 2.5 million individuals. This U.S.-Mexico borderplex region is the most populous in Texas and second only to the San Diego-Tijuana borderplex nearly 800 miles west.
El Paso is also home to Fort Bliss, one of the largest military complexes of the U.S. Army. In the last decade alone, Fort Bliss has tripled in size, according to the base. And per the U. S. Department of Defense, Fort Bliss is currently home to
81,623 active duty and reservist soldiers, as well as family members and civilians.
The post supports a population of more than 166,000, including veterans, retirees and family members. The University of Texas at El Paso’s Institute for Policy and Economic Development estimates that Fort Bliss positively impacts the region through production of $6 billion of business output, as well as $4.2 million in compensation and labor income across 62,000 jobs.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, El Paso’s healthcare employment sector has seen a 217 percent increase in the number of jobs since 1990. The city continues to benefit from long-term commitments from several high-profile healthcare systems and institutions, some of which are continuing to expand. Last year, the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation delivered the three-story, 60,000-square-foot Cardwell Collaborative Building, a public-private, partnership-funded biotech and research lab incubator. The landmark building in central El Paso is located near the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, University Medical Center of El Paso and the El Paso Children’s Hospital on the 440-acre MCA campus.
Earlier this year, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. opened its newest hospital campus, the Hospital of Providence Transmountain Campus in northwest El Paso. The campus includes a four-story, 110,000-square-foot medical office building and a 108-bed hospital to host the residency program for Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso, which provides a four-year medical school program through its affiliation with University Medical Center of El Paso.
University Medical Center of El Paso, a teaching hospital and part of the El Paso County Hospital District, serves as El Paso’s only nonprofit, community-owned healthcare system and features the area’s only Level 1 trauma center. El Paso Children’s Hospital opened in 2012 with a capacity for 122 beds across 10 floors and is supported by the University Medical Center and School of Medicine at Texas Tech.
The new $700 million William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss is now scheduled for completion by July 2019. The center’s 1.1 million square feet are spread over six medical facilities. The campus will include a 135-bed, seven-story hospital, two six-story medical office buildings with 10 operating rooms, 30 specialty clinics and more than
250 exam rooms.
The city also has two prominent hospital systems serving it and its surrounding counties.
Nashville-based HCA is the largest hospital system in the country and owns and operates two acute-care hospitals in El Paso: Del Sol Medical Center in east El Paso and Las Palmas Medical Center in west El Paso. Tenet Healthcare represents the city’s largest hospital system, employing more than 4,500 people across five hospital campuses.
As the city grows, service providers will continue to offer more specialized care in facilities that have been designed for specific patient needs. Long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) also fall into this category, providing coordinated and intensive care for complex medical conditions such as post-stroke, pulmonary ventilator care and wound care issues.
— By Scott Herbold, first vice president, CBRE; Elisabeth Downs, research coordinator, CBRE; and Pedro Nino, senior research analyst, CBRE. This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Texas Real Estate Business magazine.