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East County Tuesday, May 17, 2022 2 months ago

Coastal Orthopedics completes a major expansion

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A construction and build-out project with a price tag of more than $30 million positions a fast-growing medical group to meet East County’s current and future demand.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

Some development and real estate deals are born on the golf course; others are doodled on a cocktail napkin. The site of one of the biggest construction projects in the region over the past 12 months — an 88,000-square-foot orthopedics facility in East County — was cooked up in a butcher shop.

The scene was the Chop Shop, a Bradenton institution on Manatee Avenue West. It was there in 2019 that Dr. Arthur Valadie, Coastal Orthopedics’ president, bumped into commercial real estate broker Tom Brown with Wagner Realty.

The conversation quickly turned from meat to land, namely a 17-acre site on State Road 64, just east of Interstate 75. Valadie had spied it while driving by. Coastal Orthopedics, founded in 1973, was going through a growth spurt, and leadership sought a new facility to both meet current demand and prepare for the future. A growing percentage of Coastal’s patients are from both the East County area, where Coastal has had a large presence for 16 years, and north of Manatee River, in Palmetto, Parrish and Ellenton.

So, the right plot of land was essential.

“I brought it up to (Tom), who had done some real estate work for us,” Valadie says. “He was a bit surprised. It was a big piece of land.”

The land purchase, for which Manatee County records show Coastal paid $5.3 million in February 2020, represents a milestone moment for both the medical practice and East County. The new two-story facility is essentially a mini-hospital, providing a full suite of comprehensive orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, spine care, pain management and physical therapy services. The investment, Valadie says, is north of $30 million, including build-out, equipment and land purchase. “It’s a big investment for us,” he says.

Coastal Orthopedics’ new 88,000-square-foot facility features six operating rooms and 64 exam rooms. (Photo by Tom Thomas)

What makes this investment even more notable is that the organization behind it is an independently owned medical group. Coastal Orthopedics, with 20 doctors and 19 physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and a total payroll of some 300 employees, has resisted becoming part of a corporate medical group or hospital chain. That independence is rare, given the health care industry’s move toward giant, all-encompassing organizations. Coastal is also the only orthopedic group in the Bradenton area that wholly owns its own surgery center.

“As a physician and a patient advocate, I’m excited because this facility allows us to provide the most modern and up-to-date premium care in the country,” says Valadie, a sports medicine specialist at Coastal, in addition to his leadership role. “As a business owner, I’m excited for several reasons. It will bring our administrative staff under one roof. Also, being independently owned is really important to us, and this helps us solidify that. And when you have a beautiful facility like this, it can really help you attract and retain key people.”

Coastal has other offices and branches around Manatee County, including one near Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. And it recently moved into new space in west Bradenton, where it’s had a presence for decades. “We have always grown organically to meet the needs of patients,” says Coastal Orthopedics’ marketing manager Megan Batty.

The State Road 64 facility broke ground on March 9, 2021, and is scheduled to open to the public by this June. It includes an ambulatory surgery center, physical therapy department, diagnostic imaging services and a Mako knee replacement robot. There’s also a six-room surgery center to help address increasing demand for outpatient surgery, particularly joint replacement and spine surgeries. The practice expects at least 200 of its 300 employees to work at the complex regularly, with that number increasing based on patient needs.

Valadie says all the decisions behind the complex come back to Coastal’s North star: to provide both access to high-quality care and experienced physicians and staff. Standing outside the facility in late March, with workers outside paving the parking lot and crews inside working on electricity for exit signs, Valadie also peeked ahead. One idea, he says, is to open an orthopedic urgent care center in the facility focused on spines and fractures.

A bigger concern? When, not if, will Coastal outgrow its new building? Valadie realizes the East County population surge shows no signs of abating, and Coastal’s disciplines and specialties, which revolve around improving a patient’s quality of life, are tailor-made for the demographic flocking to the area: younger baby boomers.

“It’s a big challenge,” he says. “How do you make it affordable for today but the right size to match the growth of the community?”

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