The University of Texas Medical Branch plans to enter a long-term lease of the 373,000-square-foot Bay Area Regional Medical Center in Webster that abruptly closed in May, a move that would give it more presence and teaching sites in a rapidly growing market, officials said Friday.

Medical branch officials were confident Friday they could succeed with the Webster hospital even though the previous owner, Medistar Corp., had not, they said.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

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