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Hospitals have more neighbors on the way

The near south side continues to develop its medical district personality with another proposal for an office complex to cater to Bayfront and All Children's hospitals and their patients.

Coast Capital Inc. has an approved plan to build as much as 175,000 square feet of office space in three four-story buildings at 901 Sixth Ave. S. The buildings would all sit on top of a parking garage, and an additional six-level garage would be built next door.

"Clearly what is going on in the medical district is going to drive demand," said Wade Cullis with Coast Capital. "We also know there are a number of businesses that need space near downtown that are not medically related."

The two hospitals have undertaken significant expansions in the past several years. All Children's is in the midst of adding 1-million square feet, including a new nine-story hospital, and Bayfront is adding a heart center in another new structure being built by developer Optimal Outcomes.

"There's a critical mass down there," said Patrick Marston, principal owner of Optimal Outcomes, which specializes in medical buildings. "It's one of the last areas for development in the downtown area."

The Optical Outcomes building will be four stories at Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street S. Marston said demand is so strong he has almost 70 percent of his 116,000 square feet spoken for after only one month of marketing.

Cullis said he is still testing the waters before deciding exactly what to build.

He said he may start next summer with the first building and then do one more a year until the project is completed.

Cullis' plan allows the vacation of the surrounding streets, Sixth Avenue S and 10th Street, as well as Blackburn Court, which runs through the property.

Cullis will use the brick from those streets in his buildings as he constructs around an existing structure at the corner of Fifth Avenue S and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

Coast Capital will also build a bike path along its property to connect adjacent neighborhoods to Campbell Park. The plan includes building gazebos and a water fountain in the park.

Paul Swider can be reached at 892-2271 or pswider@sptimes.com or by participating in itsyourtimes.com.

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