Wellness/Medical Plans Moving Ahead…

Engineering plans for former Northern Trust building’s new use are underway.

by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor, Longboat Observer

Plans to convert the former Northern Trust building at 540 Bay Isles Road into a one-stop hub for medical care and a wide range of wellness and other services are progressing, said Suzy Brenner, the executive director of The Paradise Center.

The Paradise Center will formally combine with the Center for Healthy Living later this summer to become the LBK Paradise Center for Healthy Living, she said.

Brenner told Town Commissioners on Monday that conceptual floor plans for the inside of the 11,300-square foot building are complete, and the engineering drawings to convert the bank building into the new center are under development for submission to the town. Requests for proposals have been sent out to construction companies, Brenner said.

 As for the medical tenants of the building, Stratum Health System of Sarasota, which teamed up with the Paradise Center to roll out plans for the building in February, will operate a primary care practice, though not necessarily exclusively.

“We have a lot of moving pieces, but we’re really excited,’’ she said. “Everything is moving forward as we hoped.”

Organizers are talking with a balance-and-hearing specialist and an orthopedist now, with hopes of also lining up a dermatologist and a podiatrist.

Brenner said data from Medicare billing reports shows dermatology and podiatry are among the top specialty uses for patients in the Longboat Key ZIP code.

Such a center for health and wellness has long been a goal of the town, but finances made it more difficult. Longboat has been without a clinic since AllCare Medical Center closed in Centre Shops in 2018. The financial hurdle has always been sustaining an operation through the off-season months.

“It’s really hard to sustain medical practices on this island, because it’s a very expensive endeavor,’’ Brenner said. “There are a couple thousand people here in the summer and they tend to be the ones who need the medical care the most.’’

Still, Vice Mayor Ed Zunz praised the effort so far.

Stratum Health System is a Sarasota-based company that also operates Tidewell Hospice, Approved Home Health, Connexis Medical Services and a thrift story to benefit the not-for-profit hospice. The company’s real estate arm,  Scata Real Estate LLC. purchased the building for $1.75 million.

Northern Trust closed the building in December 2012.

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