Fishman Haygood helps Stirling Medical Lacombe acquire former Louisiana Heart Hospital

Stirling Medical Lacombe, L.L.C., an affiliate of Stirling Properties, L.L.C., has acquired the former Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe, Louisiana, with the assistance of Fishman Haygood lawyers Steven Serio, Skylar Rosenbloom, and Tyler Marquette.

The former hospital filed for bankruptcy and closed in February.  Stirling Medical Lacombe purchased the facility for $22 million on May 26, 2017, with the intent to lease the space for use in a medical capacity.

Stirling Properties is a diverse, full-service commercial real estate company based in Covington, Louisiana, with a footprint across the Gulf South.

Read about the transaction here.

Archived Copy of Article

Former Louisiana Heart Hospital sold for $22 million

The Times-Picayune · Robert Rhoden and Kim Chatelain

The former Louisiana Medical Center and Heart Hospital near Lacombe, which filed for bankruptcy and closed in February, has been purchased by a St. Tammany commercial real estate company for $22 million and may be leased for use in a medical capacity. Stirling Medical Lacombe LLC of Covington, whose principals are the same as those of Stirling Properties, acquired the hospital May 26 through federal bankruptcy court.

Townsend Underhill, Stirling’s senior vice president for development, said Tuesday (June 6) that the company has “no specific users” in line to take over the 210,000-square-foot hospital building but has been contacted by several parties interested in providing medical services at the facility. He said the two adjacent medical buildings are not part of the sale, but the acquisition includes some of the hospital’s equipment.

Underhill said Stirling over the past several years has diversified into the medical arena and saw the hospital on Louisiana 434 near its intersection with Interstate 12 as an opportunity to bring health care providers back to the area. The $22,035,000 sale will also allow for more than $770,000 in back taxes to be paid to parish government by the seller.

St. Tammany Parish Councilman Jake Groby, who represents the Lacombe area, said the sale was good news for the parish and, particularly, agencies such as the 3rd Fire District and 4th Recreation District, which relied heavily on property tax from the hospital.

“There’s no question they’re going to get the back taxes that we needed,” he said.

Fire Chief Patrick Sicard said he does not know who Stirling will ultimately lease the facility to or what medical services will be offered there, but was happy that tax dollars would be coming his way.

“We were told that the tax money is coming. We have not received a check yet.”

Parish President Pat Brister said Tuesday she was happy the facility was bought by a local company and will be put back into commerce. “The closure of the hospital caused concern about the future of that property. We are grateful that a new chapter and a new life for the complex is within sight.”

The 134-bed hospital announced in January it was closing within a month due to “significant financial challenges in recent years.” The privately-owned hospital also filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. The hospital ceased operations on Feb. 10.

In announcing its closure, the hospital said it had been in discussions with potential buyers but no agreement had been reached. In its bankruptcy filing, the hospital estimated its assets at $10 million to $50 million and its liabilities at $100 million to $500 million. Its estimated number of creditors is 1,000 to 5,000.

The public gained a peek at the hospital’s financial situation in 2013 when it engaged in a legal skirmish with the St. Tammany assessor’s office over property taxes. The assessor’s office set a fair market value of almost $26 million on the hospital’s buildings and property. That was more than double the $10.8 million value sought by the hospital.

The hospital appealed to the state Tax Commission, which investigated the matter and set the fair market value at $23.4 million. The hospital appealed that decision to the 19th Judicial District, which in March 2015 affirmed the Tax Commission’s valuation.

The hospital opened in 2003, when it was licensed for 58 beds. Despite the specificity of its name, it offered a full range of inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and diagnostic services covering more than 35 specialties including orthopedics, vascular and general surgery, gastroenterology, and neurology.

Earlier this year, the hospital reportedly owed a total of $771,369 in taxes to St. Tammany Parish: $585,556 in property tax, $185,813 on movables such as equipment.

Stirling Properties bills itself as a diverse, full-service commercial real estate company offering services including commercial brokerage, property management, development and redevelopment, and acquisitions and investments, according to its website.

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