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CHRISTUS Health CEO on Decision to Build Permanent Corporate Office

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   March 01, 2021

The Catholic healthcare organization, which currently leases space in Irving, Texas, will build a new corporate office in the Las Colinas neighborhood.

CHRISTUS Health, an international Catholic health system headquartered in Irving, Texas, announced in February that it will be building a new location for its corporate headquarters in the Las Colinas neighborhood.

The health system, which currently leases space for its headquarters, plans to finish construction of the new 400,000 square foot building and 10-story parking garage by 2023.

Ernie Sadau, CEO of CHRISTUS, recently spoke with HealthLeaders about the decision to build a new corporate headquarters in the Lone Star State as well as how it will seek to enhance the organization's mission, culture, and values.

He also shared his thoughts on the ‘Confronting Racism by Achieving Health Equitypledge, which CHRISTUS joined last month with the Catholic Health Association and other Catholic health organizations.

Related: Committed to Confronting Racism: Catholic Healthcare Systems Join the Cause

The transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

HealthLeaders: What was the strategy behind choosing Irving as the headquarters' permanent home?

Ernie Sadau: We knew our lease was coming to an end in a few years [time] and we continued to do some research on the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We did not explore other cities in Texas because we did that almost nine years ago when we made the decision to consolidate our corporate offices to the Las Colinas area in Irving.

We were comfortable with where our headquarters were, but a lot of things have changed in nine years. We did some research, but we believed [staying] in the Las Colinas area was the right decision for all the reasons that we did it before: being close to the airport and near the center of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the quality of life, great roads systems, lower cost of living, and skilled employees that we have access to.

We felt after exploring everything, and the great relationship we have with Las Colinas, that this was the right decision and will be our home.

HL: What are the positives of going from a leased space to one that the organization will own?

Sadau: Being able to design it from the ground up to ensure that it fits our culture, that it portrays our mission and the values that we want to continue to build upon in our organization; owning your own building gives you that benefit.

It also gives you a lot more flexibility because there's nobody that you have to worry about other than yourself. If you want to do some things differently, you can; if you want to redesign one day, maybe monetize it later for cash, you can do that. You have significantly more flexibility and control.

HL: What new features will this new headquarters have?

Sadau: It's going to be around 400,000 square feet and about 13 to 15 floors. It will have a smaller floor plan, so that's why it'll be significantly higher.

It's perfect timing right now because of what we've gone through with this pandemic. We're refocusing and putting a lot of emphasis on ensuring that we have a safe workplace. We'll have the highest possible filtering systems for air flow as well as safe distancing. We'll be able to have a significant amount of outdoor workspace, collaboration space, reflection space, as well as [space for] exercise and walking.

We're putting a major emphasis on ensuring that it is a safe environment, a healthy environment, and an environment that continues to enhance our culture for our associates. Because [our associates] are our biggest asset; they are our number one asset within the CHRISTUS Health ministry.

HL: CHRISTUS signed the ‘Confronting Racism by Achieving Health Equity’ pledge last month. Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share about that?

Sadau: From a CHRISTUS Health perspective, diversity, inclusion, and health equity have always been a major focus for our ministry.

Over nine years ago, when I became CEO, we put those [goals] among our top three strategies, and they continue to be one of the major priorities for us as a ministry.

[The pledge] isn’t anything new for us, it was just affirming our statement as a member of Catholic healthcare to the entire nation about how important this is for the lives of everybody we serve in our communities. We will continue to enhance that because we can always do better. I'm excited as we look to the future being aligned with all the systems within Catholic healthcare and hopefully energizing other health systems to move forward and take some big steps forward in this area.

Related: AdventHealth to Transfer Ownership of Texas Hospital to CHRISTUS Health

Melanie Blackman is the strategy editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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