LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A family foundation led by the owner of the Los Angeles Times is seeking to buy the shuttered St. Vincent Medical Center in the Westlake District and turn it into a hospital for coronavirus patients and research.
The Times Thursday reported that the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation — run by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his wife, Michele B. Chan — has offered to purchase St. Vincent out of bankruptcy for $135 million.
Soon-Shiong told the Times that he intends to create a “central command” center that would attract doctors and experts on the virus, and relieve stress on other hospitals.
“That’s what every city should have done, they should have established a central command,” Soon-Shiong said, adding that “we are in a war zone now.”
On March 20, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state would lease St. Vincent, as well as Seton Medical Center in Daly City, for $30 million to expand California’s hospital bed capacity.
Soon-Shiong told the Times that his foundation’s purchase would “bolster that effort.” State medical staff would run the hospital, according to the Times.
On Wednesday, a judge approved the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation as the lead bidder for the hospital at a federal bankruptcy court hearing. Competing offers must be submitted by Friday.
The Times owner said he was not sure of what the future of the hospital would be once the pandemic subsides, but mentioned that helping the homeless was a priority.
Soon-Shiong, 67, is a physician, surgeon, researcher, philanthropist and scientist who invented and developed an effective cancer treatment drug, according to NantWorks, the company of which he’s the chairman and CEO.
He acquired the Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2018 from Chicago-based Tribune Publishing for about $500 million.