July 12, 2016

Growing Nexus in New East Healthcare Corridor

By David Yawn
– Memphis Medical News –

Riding in large degree on the successive waves of expansion at Baptist Memorial Hospital on Walnut grove, the developers of Humphreys Center have helped place an unmistakable medical office footprint upon that section of East Memphis.

The growing prominence of Baptist Memorial Hospital, especially the relocating of former departments once housed in the traditional Midtown Medical Center campus, has served as a catalyst from which Boyle Investment Co. has orchestrated a flurry of medical center development activity, clustered around the hospital’s immediate shadows. By many standards, the massing of these buildings has created a new nexus of medical care in the Mid-South.

It is not only Baptist Hospital, however, which physicians housed in these buildings serve. They also are within relatively quick access to facilities of St. Francis Hospital and to Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare ú Germantown Hospital.

Consider some of these developments by Boyle at Humphreys Center in recent years: Semmes-Murphey Clinic, The West Clinic, 80 Humphreys Center, various specialty medical businesses in the Shops of Humphreys Center and most recently, the completion of the administrative headquarters building for Baptist Hospital in the north end of the center.

“The Development is a large one, running from a point near I-240 behind the CBHS campus all the way to Kirby Parkway and Humphreys Boulevard,”

Mark Halperin, executive vice president at Boyle points out. “The assemblage of properties is something we have been working on for along period of time, particularly through fellow Boyle executive Rusty Bloodworth.”

Much of that initial workup called for reshaping the land and literally raising its elevations in some places. A greenbelt runs along the east side of the vast tract. The company has been engaged in land development for a long time, having started business in the depression years of the 1930’s. After World War II, Boyle played a role in the development of Memphis by providing loans for new developments. It later expanded into land development, lending, property management, sales and insurance. Boyle also is involved in residential real estate. It is well known for establishing Ridgeway Center and Schilling Farms.

One of the early parts of Humphreys Center to unfold was the retail component that now has a gas station, hotel, fast food outlet, bank branch outparcel, optical dispensary, cardiologist office, physical rehabilitation center, upscale Japanese sushi restaurant and dialysis unit, among other tenants.

“Our buildings in the development were all conceptually planned and program-designed,” Halperin said, adding that the game plan changed over tine as needed. “South of the shops, we viewed as multi-tenant office buildings.” Over time, the connection with Baptist became stronger and one signal of that is an interior connector road to the hospital and some of its high-rise office buildings.

“Our first building for medical office use was the 100,000 úsquare-foot building known as 80 Humphreys, done as a joint venture with many occupying doctor-tenants,” Halperin explained. “It worked well; we had it almost leased by the time it was completed.”

Since then, the Baptist Wellness Center, East Memphis Surgery Center, Stern Cardiovascular Center, and Cardiology Specialists were among clinics settling in there.

The building was designed medically from the ground up with Cooper-Carey of Atlanta serving as architect with involvement from Medical Design International. Later on, the building was ultimately sold to Healthcare Realty Trust. Some 300 yards away, Boyle also developed the Financial Federal building, 50,000 square-foot, two story building, though it was mostly filled with technical and financial services tenants.

The next large scale medical facilities to make Humphreys Centers their home would be West Clinic for the treatment of oncology patients; Semmes-Murphey Clinic for the treatment of neurological needs. Both were freestanding buildings with West Clinic taking up all of its building on the north side of Walnut Grove in the center and Semmes-Murphey taking up most of its building floor plan south of Walnut Grove. East Memphis Radiation Therapy also sports a facility in the area.

All along, Boyle remained in continuous communications with Baptist Hospital administrators and Baptist bought some of its surplus land to build Baptist Women’s Hospital and an adjacent office building. Fleming Associates Architects designed both with Medical Design International as consultant and Boyle as the build-to-suit developer.

“We have two sites in the north section where we could place more buildings of the size of West Clinic and Semmes-Murphey,” Halperin said, pointing to a large stair-step feature on his aerial photo poster.

Other buildings making up the north section include the regional office for the U.S. Postal Service and some other government offices.

The newest major entry, the Baptist administrative building, was completed this year. “They had an option to lease or purchase and they chose purchase,” he said. “When we do a build-to-suit, we can own it or the user can or we can jointly. We prefer to have arrangements with long-term ownership in good real estate and buildings. In some cases where we sell the property outright, we often retain management for them.”

Medical use has unique requirements,” Halperin said. “There is much front-end planning with utilities, electrical, plumbing and parking, for instance. It generates a lot more visits per day than regular office space. In some cases, you have more extended hours of operation, too.

“People come from three states to this part of town for medical consultation and treatment,” he said. “Our experience with the medical community has been great.