Southwest Health envisions new housing, business development adjacent to hospital campus

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — A Platteville medical provider is requesting city assistance to develop 27 acres that abut its main campus.

Although leaders from Southwest Health have not committed to any plans, they envision an array of possibilities, including orthodontics and dental clinics, a strip mall, duplexes and a nursing home.

But to make the project feasible, the nonprofit organization is requesting the city help finance the installation of roads and utilities at a cost of up to $2.5 million.

“We’re looking at this as an opportunity,” said Southwest Health CEO Dan Rohrbach. “It’s going to help the city. It’s certainly going to help us in the health care community as well, but … it’s a huge risk for us.”

Platteville Common Council members recently voted unanimously to authorize city staff to finalize an agreement with Southwest Health.

The city would not pay for improvements directly but would use revenue generated by the special taxing district in which Southwest Health is located to reimburse the organization as it improves the site. If the district does not generate new revenue as a consequence of Southwest Health’s infrastructure investment, the city would pay nothing.

The organization does not expect to recoup the entirety of its investment before the tax district dissolves — which would occur in either 2029 or 2032 — and stops generating revenue that can be earmarked exclusively for development within the district.

Meanwhile, Southwest Health estimates the property value will increase by about $30 million once the multi-year project is complete, a boon to the city’s tax base. Currently, the land, which is located adjacent to Eastside Road, is rented for crop farming.

Council President Barb Daus said property development is an exciting prospect for the city, whose housing shortages are no secret, particularly for seniors.

Southwest Health is engaged in a flurry of expansion — both in personnel and facilities — after seeing a significant increase in net revenue in recent years.

Crews are completing a 26,000-square-foot addition on its Platteville clinic, an $8.5 million project, and will break ground later this year on a new clinic in Cuba City.

Any property development that Southwest Health pursues at its main campus in the future would be presented before city commissions, committees and, ultimately, the council for review.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Council Member Kathy Kopp said. “No matter how it works out, if Southwest Health is able to move forward and get any kind of development, it’s probably going to be bringing jobs. It’s going to help the community. It’s going to help the schools.”