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Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Florida Medical Clinic plans new facility

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WESLEY CHAPEL — Florida Medical Clinic has confirmed plans to build a three-story medical building at Wiregrass Ranch between Florida Hospital and The Shops at Wiregrass.

The nearly 200-doctor medical practice filed a site plan and construction documents this month with Pasco County for the 85,000-square-foot building on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. The nearby Wellness Plaza at Florida Hospital, which opened in early 2013, is 100,000 square feet.

Florida Medical Clinic now has seven medical offices and an urgent care clinic spread throughout the Wesley Chapel area. Marketing Director Janet Wing said most of those offices will be consolidated at the new Wiregrass clinic.

Florida Medical Clinic, based in Land O’ Lakes, was founded in 1993 and today has more than 190 physicians and specialists and about 1,000 additional staff members working in 35 locations throughout Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

In 2011, the practice spent $5 million expanding its clinic space and surgery center in Zephyrhills and another $4.5 million on a new administrative building at its Land O’ Lakes campus. In 2012, FMC spent more than $5 million to transform a former Border’s book store into a clinic in Carrollwood.

“They have been an extremely successful business, and we’re proud that they’re based right here in Pasco County,” Pasco Commissioner Ted Schrader said.

The Porter family, owners and developers of the former cattle ranch, sold the 12 acres in late October for $4 million. J.D. Porter said the family is thrilled to partner with Florida Medical Clinic. “From our understanding this will be the largest building for them in the entire state of Florida,” he said.

The family sold an adjoining 1.8 acres to a Tampa holding company for $1.3 million. The Porters still own three parcels on Bruce B. Downs between the two medical facilities.

County Administrator Michele Baker said the Florida Medical Clinic’s decision to build a new facility at Wiregrass helps the county follow advice from the Urban Land Institute: to cluster medical facilities and offices around the county’s hospitals. “It looks like that’s becoming a cluster here in Wesley Chapel,” she said.

The ULI panel that visited Pasco County in October predicted a surge of employment opportunities — a third of all new jobs — in the health care industry. In a draft of the panel’s final report, economic development specialists said the county should direct 25 percent of its efforts to the growing health care and related industries.

“This sector provides a broad cross-section of job opportunities at all skill levels, such as physicians and nurses, rehabilitative support services, assisted living facilities, medical device development and manufacturing, research, and wellness and public health,” panelists wrote.

King Engineering’s Scott Sheridan, who works closely with the Porters, filed the Florida Medical Clinic site plans with Pasco County a few weeks ago. Sheridan also is working with the Porters on permitting issues for the future Raymond James Financial campus at Wiregrass.

The St. Petersburg-based financial services giant, which is slated to get $14 million in state and local incentives, was granted a delay last year to close on 65 acres just east of The Shops at Wiregrass. The deadline for closing is April, but it could be delayed again.

No one from Raymond James would comment for this article, but Sheridan said the firm still is committed to the Wiregrass site.

Sheridan said the project already has a permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit is on hold. “It will be reactivated as soon as we turn in the mitigation report, and we’re in the process of assembling the information they needed,” he said. “The closing is going to happen. They’re committed to moving forward,” he said.

The company carried over $3.5 million for the land purchase from the prior year, based on its 2013 annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Our due diligence review of this property is ongoing and we continue to consider the location for potential future expansion of our offices in the Tampa Bay area,” the report reads.

In May the company submitted a preliminary site plan that calls for six four-story office buildings totaling 1 million square feet plus a 550,000-square-foot parking garage. The first phase would include a 168,000-square-foot office building just east of the shopping mall.

lkinsler@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1852

Twitter @LKinslerTBO

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