Cleveland Clinic Florida looking to expand in county


Cleveland Clinic Florida has outgrown it space at CityPlace Tower in West Palm Beach and is exploring a move to a larger site downtown, several real estate sources say.

Cleveland Clinic’s desire to move to a larger facility underscores the success the medical center has enjoyed since it first opened at the CityPlace Tower in 2007. Cleveland Clinic’s Health and Wellness Center is up to 30,000 square feet and includes patient exam rooms and diagnostic services.

But it needs 60,000 square feet or more of space, sources said. The extra space would be used for more out-patient procedures, diagnostic tests and medical offices.

The world-class center is popular with Palm Beachers who are happy to financially support the center and have close access to top-flight medical care. For example, the late Carl Hirsch, a media industry veteran living on Palm Beach, gave $1 million in 2010 to help Cleveland Clinic’s expansion at CityPlace Tower.

In fact, many Cleveland Clinic patients remain loyal to the medical center. One of them is developer Allan Adelson of Palm Beach Gardens.

Adelson, who said Cleveland Clinic diagnosed a heart issue that saved his life, said he feels “an obligation to help them,” including helping them with any real estate search. He did not elaborate.

But Elliot Cohen, a West Palm Beach city spokesman, said the respected medical facility has approached the city about moving to the vacant “tent” site now owned by the city. (The property is called that because the previous occupant, the Palm Beach International Pavilion, looked like a tent.)

The tent site, located at Okeechobee Boulevard and Dixie Highway, was recently recaptured by the city from Digital Domain after the special-effects company filed for bankruptcy.

Cohen said representatives from the Cleveland Clinic have met with officials at the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency about the high-profile property. “We’ve had discussions with them,” Cohen said. “We’ve had some back and forth.”

No deal has been struck, however, Cohen said.

A Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman denied the facility was “in talks to acquire the tent site.”

Despite the high-profile name that Cleveland Clinic could bring to the prime site, real estate sources say the deal might not be of interest to city officials.

One reason: Taxes. Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit entity, and the city wishes to recoup tax revenues on any building constructed on the tent site.

Palm Beach County has proved to be a lucrative source of business for Cleveland Clinic Florida, which is based in Weston. The facility operates a hospital there, but word is Cleveland Clinic isn’t interested in having a Palm Beach County hospital.

Cleveland Clinic does, however, want a larger slice of Palm Beach County’s affluent patient population — and not just in the West Palm Beach area.

Cleveland Clinic is about to open a facility at 4520 Donald Ross Road in Palm Beach Gardens, a Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman confirmed. The office is set to open in May or June, she said.

The office will be staffed by neurologists and general practitioners.

Northern Palm Beach County is an increasingly popular destination for medical providers. Last year, JFK Medical Center opened a free-standing, $9 million emergency room at the Midtown mixed-use center on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens.

And Miami-based Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute has a Palm Beach Gardens location that is bustling with patients needing a variety of medical treatments for the eyes.

Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law. Contact her at aclough@pbpost.com.


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