FOLEY – A 12-acre health-care facility on Fern Avenue is the first project planned for Foley’s new Medical Overlay District.

The Foley Planning Commission voted to recommend rezoning the site as a planned unit development. The proposal will now go to the Foley City Council for final approval.

The council voted in 2023 to create the Medical Overlay District in the area near the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center. The district is intended to encourage the development of medical services in the area as the community’s population increases.

The SBRMC is also undergoing a major expansion, which will increase its capacity to 140 beds.

Wayne Dyess, Foley executive director of infrastructure and development, said the Fern Avenue project and development of the district is suited to the expansion of the hospital.

“This is the first one in the medical overlay district, taking advantage of the hospital expansion, the $250-million expansion there,” Dyess told Planning Commission members.. We feel like this is a very good plan.”

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the proposed medical park will bring in medical services that Foley residents now have to travel out of town to receive.

“ I think this is great,” Hellmich said. “This will help support our new $250-million hospital and this will bring specialty doctors that we currently don’t have, that are in Pensacola or Mobile, here because they are really interested in this new hospital.”

Adam Spangrud, a partner in the project, said medical providers have already expressed interest in opening offices at the site. He said facilities in the medical overlay district will allow doctors to be close to the new hospital and provide services that are not now available in Foley.

“We’ve had great feedback on this from both doctors and some folks in the community that are currently driving 40 minutes to an hour away to get certain specialty care,” Spangrud said. “It’s been positive on both sides and everybody on the zoning and planning team has just been great to work with. I think we’ve made a lot of good progress so far.”

A Design Alabama study for Foley recommended the creation of a hospital district in north Foley to encourage the development of medical services in that area.

Uses intended for Medical District Overlay District include hospitals, medical clinics, pharmaceutical businesses, medical technology research and related uses. Other related uses may be located within the hospital or clinic buildings or as independent uses within the overlay district area.