Whitehall residents no longer are "eatin' good in the neighborhood," but a new development could help them feel better anyway.

A "neighborhood hospital" could take the place of a former Applebee's restaurant on East Broad Street in Whitehall.

"We anticipate a groundbreaking in the spring (of 2018)," said Denise Valenta, representing Embree Asset Group of Georgetown, Texas.

Valenta described the facility as an 18,200-square-foot hospital with an eight-bed inpatient area and a seven-bed emergency department.

The facility would be licensed as a general hospital providing "customized care," where patients could be admitted, treated and discharged in their own neighborhood, Valenta said.

The average inpatient stay would be two to five days, Valenta said. She said there would be no surgical procedures at the hospital.

Embree Asset Group is negotiating to determine an operator for the hospital, but Valenta said "we are not at liberty" to disclose details of the negotiations.

Whitehall City Council on Oct. 17 rezoned the former Applebee's site to allow the hospital to operate there.

The restaurant at 4600 E. Broad St. closed last spring, said Joe Ryan, the city's economic development manager. The 4,500-square-foot eatery would be demolished to make way for the new hospital to be built on the 1.5-acre lot, Ryan said.

"This will be another great development at the gateway entrance to our city," Development Director Zach Woodruff said, referring to the area near East Broad Street and Hamilton Road.

Across the street from the proposed hospital, on the south side of East Broad Street at Fairway Boulevard, Continental Real Estate plans to build a $50 million mixed-use development called Norton Crossing.

The development will be built on the former site of the Commons at Royal Landing, a 42-building, 270-unit apartment complex on 17 acres that the city purchased for $5 million in April 2016.

Earlier this year, Four Seasons Golf Center, 5000 E. Broad St., closed after the city ended a lease with the Michigan-based company.

The inflatable dome -- formerly central Ohio's only indoor golf range -- was sold at auction in July and deflated last month.

The city plans to return most of the land to Whitehall Community Park but wants to market about 13 acres on the north side of East Broad Street, east of North Hamilton Road, as an office park.

City Council President Jim Graham said the proposed hospital will be convenient for Whitehall's residents.

"This is awesome (and) a well-thought-out plan," Councilman Bob Bailey said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo