New Medical Facilities in Estero & Bonita Springs

Medical office - middle-aged male doctor greeting patient, shaking hands.Lee Memorial Health Systems plans for new medical facilities in Estero and Bonita Springs include a free-standing emergency room, surgery center and more at Coconut Point to open in 2018, and an integrative medical practice to Bonita Bay Lifestyle Center in the Promenade Shopping Center on US 41.

There seems to be no end in sight to south Lee County’s recent growth spurts.

As new senior housing facilities and corporate headquarters continue to sprout up in both Estero and Bonita Springs, residents soon can look forward to new medical facilities in their backyard. Lee Memorial Health System officials Wednesday presented updates to plans that will bring a comprehensive medical village to Coconut Point and medical practices to Bonita Bay’s lifestyle center.

Listening to the updates — at the Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council’s second quarterly open meeting — were business owners, city officials and members of the public.

‘In 2005, 2006, Lee Memorial Health System recognized that south Lee County was the next hot pocket of growth in Lee County,’ said Suzanne Bradach, special projects manager for Lee Memorial. ‘And so we acquired about 31 acres located right behind the Bonita Community Health Center in Estero.’ She gave a 30-minute presentation on the two expansion projects.

Lee Memorial’s original plan was to build an 80-bed hospital on the land, but it did not get state approval for the proposal.

Lee Memorial then shifted its focus to building a 136,900-square-foot medical campus. The plans include specialty- care physicians, primary care physicians, a freestanding 24/7 emergency room, a surgery center, a healthy life medical center for chronic disease management, a clinical-decision support unit to hold patients for less than 24 hours and ancillary services, such as imaging, rehabilitation and laboratories. ‘We started to rethink how we could deliver health care in a unique and progressive way,’ Bradach said. ‘We want it to be a health and wellness destination.’

The cost for the project has been estimated at $70 million, Bradach said. Requests for qualifications from architects and construction management companies have been sent out and are expected back by July 16. About 40 companies have expressed interest, and the top three in each category will be selected to present their proposals in late August.

After contracts are approved in October, Bradach said, a nine-month-long design process will start the next month. Construction is expected to begin in February 2017. The facility will open in mid-2018 and create 200 to 250 jobs, Bradach said. The design of the project will be sensitive to the Estero’s aesthetic guidelines. ‘We’re going to try to keep that kind of Mediterranean flowing campus like feel to the best of our ability,’ Bradach said.

Additionally, in collaboration with Bonita Bay, Lee Memorial soon will open an ‘integrative medicine practice,’ internal medicine practice and rehabilitation center on the third floor of the Bonita Bay Lifestyle Center at 26800 U.S. 41 S., north of the Promenade Shopping Center.

‘Integrative medicine takes both the Eastern and Western approach to a person’s health,’ Bradach said, adding it combines spiritual and medical aspects. “It looks at the whole entire person and not just a piece of the body.”
The third floor of the Bonita Bay-owned facility will house a fellowship-trained physician, primary-care physicians and a rehab team and will be open to the public, Bradach said. It is expected to open in about a month.

Bonita Springs Councilman Bill Lonkart, one of the dozens of people attending the meeting, said both projects are needed. “It’s a great idea,” Lonkart said. “Seventy percent of the people (in Bonita) that have to go to the hospital go to a Naples location. ‘So it’s a good thing. It’s going to be a modern thing.’

By Patrick Riley 239-263-4825

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