Tri-City Medical Center says it’s finally ready to use a three-story medical office building on its Oceanside campus that has been embroiled in a legal battle for nearly a decade.
Considered substantially complete in 2013, but no interior tenancy improvements had yet been made, the structure was behind a chain link fence, visible to passing medical personnel and patients, but not originally intended. The doctor’s office and other facilities were not housed as was.
However, the fence was recently removed, and hospital administrators said in an email this week that they are exploring options for how it should be used.
Since 2014, the building has been the subject of lawsuits, with builders Medical Acquisition Co. and Tri-City disagreeing over a leaseback agreement they brokered. That year, the Public Health District, which operates the Oceanside Medical Center, attempted to use eminent domain to acquire the building.
When the court set the building’s value at nearly $17 million, it far exceeded what Tri-City thought it would be worth, so the hospital tried to drop the eminent domain lawsuit, but eventually closed it in 2021. Won a granting appeal.
Tri-City’s email cites the recent entry into the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of Medical Acquisition Company as a catalyst for unpacking the development process, stating that “(Tri-City Healthcare District) will open a (medical office building). free of charge and does not have any interest in (Medical Acquisition Company).”
However, Deepalie Milie Joshi, the attorney representing MAC in bankruptcy proceedings, said in an email Thursday that Tri-City had permission to take ownership in 2021, and that as of January of that year. He said he could have been able to earn income using
The company’s bankruptcy declaration was intended by Tricity “for the sole purpose of putting my client out of business so that my client cannot continue any pending lawsuits or pending appeals” in ongoing litigation.
“Tri-City has yet to repay the client its initial pre-litigation investment,” said Joshi.
Tri-City originally aimed to increase the number of doctors practicing on its medical campus.
In 2014, then-Tri-City Chief Executive Officer Tim Moran announced that the 57,000-square-foot building would be filled with doctors to help “stabilize and develop the primary care and referral infrastructure,” and to “help other hospitals.” Options for building partnerships with organizations”
In 2015, executives at the University of California, San Diego said they hoped the university’s medical system would lease the top floor of the building to strengthen its growing neurology collaboration with Tri-City.
Public district hospitals are now working to replace lost labor and birth referrals at several local community clinics that have begun working with Palomar Health in Escondido. The county is building a new psychiatric unit on its Oceanside campus.