Cooper to begin estimated $2B expansion this year

Cooper University Health Care is preparing to begin the first phase of a projected $2 billion expansion this year, according to Fitch Ratings.

In late 2022, Cooper announced a long-term vision to update its Camden, N.J., campus. The vision comprises three independent phases, with an initial public price of about $2 billion. Fitch said the phased approach gives Cooper the flexibility to pause spending and the ability to reevaluate should market conditions or business strategies change.

The first phase of the expansion will include the construction of a new patient tower and a bridge connecting it to the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.

Fitch expects the first phase of the project to cost about $450 million, funded by $200 million in grants that were provided by federally funded state grants for COVID-19 relief and cash flow. 

Cooper said the project — which is anticipated to be completed by late 2026 or early 2027 — is still in the design phase and the cost is subject to change. The expansion includes three new clinical buildings, which will result in the hospital growing to 745 beds and more than 100 private rooms. 

"We are projecting construction of the new tower to begin late in 2024. The project is still in the design phase so we don't have final cost or programming for the project yet, but we know that it will be funded by a combination of cash and grants," CFO Brian Reilly said in a statement shared with Becker's. "We do not have specifics on what services will be in the tower, but it will include a number of new, state-of-the-art private patient rooms."

Fitch expects Cooper to continue expanding its market through the planned acquisition of Cape Regional Health System in Cape May County and the opening of the system's largest ambulatory mutlispecialty campus in Burlington County.

Cooper continues to prioritize investment in its workforce, infrastructure and innovation, Mr. Reilly told Becker's. "We are working on recruiting and retaining the highest talent from high-end, subspecialty care, to the bedside, and across the organization."

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