CANAL WINCHESTER, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — OhioHealth Corp. bought land off Route 33 in Canal Winchester, setting the stage for further suburban expansion while it embarks on $1 billion in expansions to its two flagship hospitals in Columbus.

Central Ohio’s largest health system purchased the 6.8 acres adjoining the Walmart-anchored Waterloo Crossing shopping center from Columbus developer Casto for $1.7 million on Monday, property records show. Just off the highway’s Gender Road exit, the site is a 3-mile drive from Diley Ridge Medical Center, the region’s first freestanding emergency department, a joint venture of Columbus’ Mount Carmel Health System and Lancaster-based Fairfield Medical Center.

A restrictive covenant on the parcel says that Casto may not lease or sell the adjoining Waterloo outlots to competing health systems Mount Carmel, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic, or their affiliates or subsidiaries, for medical uses such as a hospital, ER, surgery center or urgent care. The restriction ends if OhioHealth sells or otherwise stops operating on the site.

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