The South Baldwin Regional Medical Center is expanding, and as the unofficial medical district in the city grows, officials are planning ahead.

The $200 million hospital expansion will add beds, bringing the total capacity to 142.

As the "ground zero" of medical care in Foley, the medical center has become surrounded by other medical facilities and clinics. Wayne Dyess, the city's executive director of infrastructure and development, believes now is the time to consider a medical overlay district to encourage the development of more medical facilities in the area.

"We were looking for ways to encourage a conglomeration of medical uses near the hospital, to get the synergies between the new hospital and potential growth and the need for medical care," Dyess said. "This is a way that we are looking to try to incentivize this."

Dyess wants to see a range of medical offerings in Foley, such as assisted living facilities.

"Our vision for the medical overlay district is predominantly uses such as hospital support, clinics, therapy facilities, and other directly related health care facilities;  but to also include ancillary medical uses such as residential care facilities, and assisted living facilities," Dyess said. "One could also find other auxiliary uses such as food, coffee shops, temporary style occupancy for healthcare employment such as traveling nurses. In the medical overlay concept, the hospital essentially acts as the 'anchor' similar to big box retail serving as the economic engine for surrounding smaller businesses."

The city is studying the creation of an official district and is working with the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance on the project. The district would not change zoning in the area, but Dyess believes it would serve as a buffer between nearby neighborhoods and medical facilities.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.