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New $1.6B IU Health hospital slated to open in 2026

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A billion-dollar project is coming to downtown Indianapolis. IU Health plans to build a new facility just south of Methodist Hospital as it expands its campus.

The estimated $1.6 billion investment will extend from 16th Street to 12th Street and between Capitol Avenue to I-65.

Preliminary blueprints released Wednesday show the future of IU Health, a new building on 44 acres just south of Methodist.

The design calls for a trio of 10-story towers of glass, connected to each other and other nearby buildings like Methodist with enclosed walkways. There’s room for up to 576 beds.

The goal is to open in 2026.

“It sets us up for the future because this state, this nation needs medical centers like this to continue to innovate and push the curve in health care,” said Dr. Ryan Nagy, president of both IU Health Methodist and University hospitals.

When complete, the new facility will house all operations of the 331-bed University Hospital which opened 50 years ago in 1970, closing down the building. Officials tell News 8 they haven’t determined what they’ll do with the site.

When the new hospital opens, it will also mean a partial demo and renovation at 625-bed Methodist, which opened more than a century ago in 1908.

“We have two adult campuses a mile apart that have reached the useful life of their building structures and we need to consolidate,” said Dr. Nagy.

The total capacity of the new hospital and redesigned Methodist will be similar to the 956 combined beds currently at Methodist and University.

Officials said the pandemic has influenced the plans, to make sure there’s a flexible design with enough ICU space to handle surges of patients.

“Did we predict COVID two years ago? Absolutely not,” said Dr. Nagy. “But the planning and the strategy related to this project today makes it so we can continue to adapt.”

The design team promises to provide spaces for both caregivers and employees to find relief.

“Hidden treasures,” said Jim Mladucky, IU Health’s Vice President for Design and Construction. “Rarely is it fun to come to a hospital, but if we can create an environment that at least makes it less stressful, that’s a plus.”

There’s no name for the new hospital yet.

Officials hope to start infrastructure work this spring.

“It’s an investment that will serve the citizens of not just Marion County, Indianapolis, but the great state of Indiana and beyond the borders of this state,” said Dr. Nagy.

IU Health submitted plans Wednesday with the city, requesting a Central Business District special development classification for zoning flexibility.

Officials promise to hire Indiana businesses for at least half of the work, at least $800 million. They also pledge to give 25% of the work to certified veteran, women or minority-owned businesses.