Alice mayor aims to repurpose hospital into senior apartments

Posted at 11:42 AM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 13:52:47-05

ALICE, Texas — As communities across the Coastal Bend look to rebound from the pandemic, smaller cities like Alice in Jim Wells County are hoping to capitalize on its space availability.

A shell of the city's old hospital has been vacant for more than two decades. An Austin-based company has plans to change that with a new apartment development.

"We're such a close neighbor to Corpus Christi and all that Corpus Christi offers that I believe we're just an awesome asset for any business big or small just willing to look outside of the box and look at Alice," Alice Mayor Jolene Vanover said.

Cities and towns are looking to rebound, Vanover said. And they know finding new ways of development is key for growth.

Vanover is hopeful about the potential for future growth in and around Alice. The city council there approved a resolution on Jan. 19 that is aimed at supporting a new senior apartment development.

It's a move that will get rid of a dilapidated building that has been vacant for years.

"This company, I'm completely on board with because it's senior," Vanover said about the development. "So the housing is going to be for senior citizens. Moderate to low-income housing for senior citizens, which is a big need in our city."

The project by Austin-based company Fish Pond Development will demolish the old hospital located on East Third Street to build the new four to five multi-story apartment building near Alice's downtown area. The housing community's target market is independent living seniors with the complex providing social programs for exercise and socialization.

"We do currently have some developers in town that are building some nice starter homes for your teachers for your nurses that are just getting into careers," Vanover said.

But in order to develop revenue, the city needs more moderately priced housing.

Another deal that soon could be formulated would have Del Mar College replace Coastal Bend College to provide better educational opportunities for area students. It's a plan that Texas legislators will be debating during their upcoming session.

And with space available for development and a rail line being underutilized, the City of Alice and the surrounding areas could be primed to rebound even stronger than before.