LARGO — Construction began this week on a $30-million medical center that is to be the new home of Largo's Diagnostic Clinic.
The clinic, a physician-owned practice that provides primary care, medical and surgical specialties, imaging, laboratory and therapy services, has been an anchor in the community for 39 years.
Its new center, at 1301 Second Ave. SW, is to be six stories with 155,000 square feet and additional parking added to an existing garage. Most of the center will be occupied by the clinic, but approximately a third is to be leased by Largo Medical Center and other healthcare businesses.
The project is a partnership between the clinic and the medical center (which is across the street), a 456-bed acute care hospital adjacent to the clinic with specialty programs that include Tampa Bay Heart Institute, Florida Knee & Orthopedic Spine Care Center and a rehabilitation facility.
Why is the building needed?
"We're looking to upgrade to the latest technology in a number of different areas," said Dr. Charles Campbell, president and chief executive officer of Diagnostic Clinic. "This will allow us to continue and expand our commitment to our community.
"Basically, parts of the (old) building are not up to the standards we want for our patients. It was built in pieces. The original structure was started in 1969. A four-story tower was added in 1986."
How does the partnership work?
The hospital is leasing the property to the clinic, which will in turn lease space in the building to the hospital, said Richard Satcher, chief executive officer of the medical center and Sun Coast Hospital, a facility of the center. "We will be a tenant in the building," he said, "leasing space for a variety of needs that we currently don't have space for. It's a very common practice within our industry."
Will the clinic hire additional specialists for the new facility?
"We will have building space for expansion in almost every area," said Campbell. "It's hard to predict exactly what particular specialists we will need. We will have space to increase the doctors by 20 percent and add additional technology."
The clinic currently has more than 100 health care providers and a total staff of between 375 and 400.
Who is overseeing the project?
Greenfield Group, a Boca Raton-based medical real estate company specializing in development, leasing and property management, is coordinating the development.
Michael Hlatki, who heads the group's development division, is project manager. The contractor is Leighton McGinn of Palm Beach Gardens.
Construction is expected to be completed late next year.
Ophthalmologist joins staff at St. Luke's
Dr. Byung-Joon Ahn, an ophthalmologist specializing in vitreous and retinal diseases, has joined the staff of St. Luke's Cataract & Laser Institute at 43309 U.S. 19 N Tarpon Springs.
He treats and manages diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal vascular disease and other vitreo-retinal disorders.
Ahn received his medical degree from the University of Vermont in Burlington and served his internship at the New York Hospital of Queens, Cornell Medical College.
He completed his residency at New York Medical College. He also earned a master of public health degree from Harvard University and a master of science degree in healthcare management from New York University.
Established in 1968, St. Luke's has a staff of nearly two dozen medical doctors and optometrists offering comprehensive eye care. In addition to its main facility in Tarpon Springs, there are offices in St. Petersburg, Bayonet Point and Spring Hill.
Specialty stores open at Countryside Mall
Three specialty stores have been added to the roster of retailers at Westfield Countryside Mall:
Coach. Founded in 1941 in a New York City loft and inspired by the baseball glove, Coach is a designer, producer and marketer of leather handbags, business cases, wallets, luggage and travel accessories. It also offers eyewear, jewelry, footwear and most recently, fragrance.
Coldwater Creek, opening this fall. Established in 1984 and based in Sandpoint, Idaho, Coldwater Creek is a retailer of women's apparel, gifts, jewelry and accessories.
Build-A-Bear Workshop. Make-your-own stuffed animal from more than 30 choices. The business made its debut in 1997 in St. Louis, as an interactive retail entertainment experience.
The mall has four department stores and more than 145 specialty stores and restaurants. Westfield Countryside is owned by an Australia-based company with interests in 120 shopping centers in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Frame store owner celebrates 29th year
Don Hurt, owner of Your Claim to Frame at 1210 Nebraska Ave., is celebrating his 29th year as a frame store owner in Palm Harbor.
He opened Frame Factory, a do-it-yourself and custom frame shop franchise, in 1979. When the franchise closed in 1998, he adopted the current name. The business has had several locations in the community. Hurt built the present shop in 1990 in the historic district.
The business was named the mid-size Business of the Year in 2002 by the Greater Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Hurt is an original member of the Palm Harbor Merchants Association. He served five years on the Palm Harbor Main Street Board and nine years on the chamber board.
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