Baptist Health South Florida finally buys home in Brickell
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
After searching years for its first medical center site in the urban core, Baptist Health South Florida has found its home at the Tinsley Advertising building in Brickell.
The health care organization is to transform the 1969-vintage, two-story office building into an urgent care facility with a diagnostics center to serve the area's growing residential and office population, says Ana Lopez-Blazquez, chief strategic officer and CEO of Baptist Health Enterprises, Baptist's real estate division.
But the location at 2660 Brickell Ave. will also bring the hospital's services to the doorsteps of adjacent neighborhoods such as Key Biscayne and Coconut Grove, she added.
More than 129,000 patients a year receive care at one of Baptist Health's nine urgent care facilities, which have steadily increased the patients they serve in the past three years.
The hospital closed on the property in late March, paying $7 million. Scott Sime, president of Holly Sime Realty, represented both the buyer and seller, Sandy Tinsley.
Ms. Tinsley, a Miami advertising pioneer with 36 years in the business, has spent the past 26 years at this Brickell location but says "it was the opportune time to sell."
Over the years, she says, she's gotten numerous offers to sell the property but felt comfortable there and didn't want to think about moving.
But this time, the offer was right.
Baptist paid $7 million for a 19,180-square-foot building on a 28,260-square-foot lot assessed at $2.1 million last year, according to Miami-Dade property records. Ms. Tinsley bought the property in 1984 for $3 million.
Ms. Tinsley, chief executive officer of Tinsley Advertising, said she's in negotiations to lease office space nearby.
She said she couldn't confirm the location until the deal is inked, but it's very close to her current office, which is to make the move easier. The company has until November to leave the building.
Baptist's concept for a support center was born more than a decade ago when its emergency room was clogging and the hospital saw a need for facilities more accessible throughout Miami-Dade.
The hospital began setting up urgent care centers in areas such as Westchester, West Kendall and Doral, staffed with doctors and nurses who treat ailments such as flu, simple fractures and allergic reactions.
Plans are to gut the office building and rebuild it into a medical facility, Ms. Lopez-Blazquez said, with the same exterior appearance as Baptist's other medical plazas.
"One of the things we are looking to do is modernize the façade," she said. "…The cosmetic façade change will have a similar look to our standalone [medical] plazas. The actually look for the building creates an identity as well."
Baptist will reserve the 40-plus parking spaces for patients, she said. The 20 employees it is to hire to operate the urgent care center are to park at a nearby municipal lot, she added.
Finding a Brickell location has taken years because the hospital was eyeing a location in one of Brickell Avenue's many high-rises. But Baptist's needs of visibility, accessibility and ample parking conflicted with desires of other building users.
For landlords, having a medical user translates to patient traffic, longer operating hours and parking needs many are unable to meet.
Among issues encountered, Ms. Lopez-Blazquez said, were that many of the avenue's towers restricted medical use and the hospital needed a large first-floor space easily accessible to patients.
At the new location, a trolley service slated for the urban core is to make it easier for area residents and office workers to get to the urgent care center.
"One of the things I've learned since we closed is that there will be a Brickell trolley and the last stop is across from our property," Ms. Lopez-Blazquez said. "This will provide an easy way to get to the property for those who are in the high-rises."
The Brickell area already has two urgent care centers that offer medical services seven days a week: MediGo, at 900 SW Second Ave., which is affiliated with Mercy Hospital, and RiteCare Medical Center, at 1250 S Miami Ave.
Ms. Lopez-Blazquez said design work is already underway for the medical plaza and the permitting process with the City of Miami is to begin within five months.
Once permits are ready, she says, the hospital plans to begin extensive renovations immediately.
"We are very anxious to provide the services to that community….," she said. "We are looking forward to it because we've waited a long time."