FLORENCE, Ala. – A former hospital in Florence stands vacant. Almost two months ago the doors to ECM Hospital were shuttered as a new medical center opened. Fencing and padlocks secured the perimeter shortly after the last patients were transferred out. Since December 6, a flurry of work is being conducted inside ECM.
For three years, a redeployment team worked to find alternative uses for ECM following its closure. Florence and Lauderdale County leaders say no one showed interest in the aging facility, it would cost too much to renovate, so it will be torn down.
Owners of the North Alabama Medical Center will be picking up the tab for demo estimated to cost $5-million. To reimburse NAMC, tax abatements will be given by the city and county totaling $3.6-million over a 12-year period.
As for what’s going on inside, hospital administrators have said workers will be removing specialized equipment which may still have value in the medical industry. We’ve also been told once that process is complete, teams will make sure there are no hazardous elements left inside allowing demo to begin. Demolition includes both the hospital structure and parking deck.
The goal of NAMC is to have the project complete by the end of the year.
Once the site is cleared, zoning will turn the property into single dwelling residential use. Paving the way for controlled redevelopment by the City of Florence.
It could be late spring or early summer before noticeable work to the exterior of ECM Hospital will begin.