Ground broken on new Hospital

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FL (WFLX) The ceremonial shovels in the dirt came 14 years after Martin Health first sought permission to build a new hospital in western Port St. Lucie. It will be one of the largest economic projects for the region in years.

"During the construction period there will be over a thousand people involved in the construction and when we open we'll have 400 new associates who will be working her full time," said Martin Health CEO Mark Robitaille.

When completed in 20-14, the hospital will have 90 beds with the potential to expand to 300.

"In two years when we open, there will be half a million square feet of state of the art life care," added Robitaille.

The hospital is located right in the middle of a growing high-tech corridor.

Just last month, the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, or VGTI, opened its brand new laboratory and the labs of the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies are around the corner.

At Torrey Pines, the excitement surrounds a new pain relief compound that pending FDA approval, could be ready for human trials next year.

"This is a very important possibility for public health," said Dr. Richard Houghten, with Torrey Pines.

With plenty of open space still available, county economic leaders see these steps as just the beginning.

Larry Pelton, President of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County, said, "Each one generates more economic impact and we're talking to quite a few pharmaceutical companies that want to locate in this area as well."

With the country still emerging from the worst economic crisis in decades, a 110-million dollar hospital project is a pretty good dose of economic first aid.