The foundation led by the owner of the Los Angeles Times will seek to purchase the shuttered St. Vincent Medical Center in the Westlake District and turn it into a hospital for coronavirus patients and research, it was reported today.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his wife, Michele B. Chan, run the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, and it has offered to purchase St. Vincent for $135 million out of bankruptcy, the Times reported.

Soon-Shiong told the Times he intends to create a "central command" center that would attract doctors and experts on the virus, and relieve pressure on other hospitals.

"That's what every city should have done, they should have established a central command," Soon-Shiong told the Times, adding "we are in a war zone now."

Soon-Shiong's announcement is the latest proposal to use the hospital to treat coronavirus patients.  Last month, the hospital's owner, Verity Health System, said it was going to partner with the state government to make the temporary transformation. Gov. Gavin Newsom said on March 20 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 said his foundation's purchase would "bolster that effort," the Times reported.

The state's medical staff will run the hospital, according to the Times.  However, there was no word when the hospital would be ready to treat patients.

A judge on Wednesday 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 to the court by Friday, the Times reported.

The Times owner also said he's not sure what the future of the hospital will be once the pandemic subsides, but he mentioned helping homeless is a priority.

Calls to Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation were not immediately returned.

Los Angeles County offered a bid for the hospital in early February, and the city was also contemplating purchasing it. St. Vincent had 366 beds at the time it was closed.

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