University of Miami Health System OKs North Miami center
Written by Rebecca San Juan on March 5, 2019
The University of Miami Health System plans to debut a medical center in a $4 billion mixed-use development in North Miami called Solé Mia, with a target opening date in early 2023.
The medical center is nestled in the 184 acres developed by Miami’s Soffer family and New York’s LeFrak family. Developers envision 12 residential towers and 500,000 square feet of retail and commercial space surrounding a 7-acre swimmable Crystal Lagoon. In addition to a Costco Wholesale store, two residential towers are open but the remaining build-out schedule could last 10 to 15 years.
The medical center is to offer nearby residents, especially those in Aventura and North Miami, several services. The facility comprising of 225,000 square feet is to span 10 acres. The university is reserving 100,000 square feet should it choose to expand.
Treatments from ambulatory care, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, gastrointestinal services – think cardiology, neurology, urology – and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center are planned.
A bridge is to connect the building to a hotel for patients and families of loved ones. Given that the services are all outpatient procedures, the center lacks inpatient beds. Visitors will have the convenience of finding the center from Biscayne Boulevard and parking in an adjacent garage.
The location could not be better, says Ben Riestra, chief ambulatory operations executive and chief administrative officer of the Lennar Foundation Medical Center. Demographic research, including market studies, point to a gap in healthcare providers and need in the area. He said, “It has proved this to be a very valuable location for the community.”
In fact, he said, all data point to a strong debuting year: “Our expectations are projecting just under 200,000 patient visits as our first year and then growing year after year with the current facility capacity of approximately 350,000 patient visits per year.”
His team is ironing out details of functional space programming and systematic design. He says those aspects will come with design milestones and construction. Construction workers are expected to break ground in a year or year and half, with work done by early 2023.
City of North Miami Manager Larry Spring says this project speaks volumes for North Miami and the opportunities that it can provide for his residents: “To have a full-service facility like this with the quality, the respect, the tradition of the UM health services is paramount. They chose to be here in our community over some other places that they could have put in the Northeast corridor.”
Mr. Spring said he plans to speak with developers and UHealth to encourage them to hire nearby talent. “I am looking forward to having conversations with those folks targeting hiring within this city to fulfill some positions,” he said. “All in all, this brings a lot of things to the city.”
He said he has faith that job creation for North Miami residents will occur: “Having worked with the university years ago when I was with the City of Miami, I know how the university works. I know how they have a commitment to their local communities and where they have footprints. I’ve seen them do it time and again.”