Wide range of services will operate out of a hub in town's former Northern Trust building.
Longboat Key officials and residents agree the partnership of The Paradise Center and Stratum Health System that will bring a medical, social and recreation center to the island eliminates a missing piece of the puzzle for the community.
“This is the beginning of a new journey,” said Heidi Brown, chief executive officer of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of the Suncoast. JFCS, now in the Centre Shops, will be relocating to the former Northern Trust building at 540 Bay Isles Road.
“I am excited to be part of this new collaborative.”
Longboat has been without a medical practice since AllCare Medical Center closed its offices in the Centre Shops in February 2018 for financial reasons. It still operates a clinic in Lakewood Ranch.
Jonathan Fleece, president and CEO of Stratum, the parent of Tidewell Hospice, Approved Home Health, Connexis Medical Services, Avidity Home Health and Treasures Thrift Shop, said they have been talking with primary care physicians; ear, nose and throat specialists, as well as an orthopedic practice about setting up shop in the building, which is being envisioned as a medical suite, where space is shared and doctors rotate in and out.
“We envision it as a come one, come all,” facility, Fleece said. “We will help people age in place.”
That was good news to outgoing Commissioner Jim Brown, who along with the rest of the commission were present for the official announcement.
“There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t get a telephone call from someone who wants to know when his primary care physician is coming back,” Brown said.
Commissioner Irwin Pastor called the project a victory for the town. He said the major concerns of the commission are the safety, welfare and health of the residents, which the new facility will meet.
Town resident Lenny Landau, who was present at the official announcement and took the opportunity to tour the former bank building, called the project great.
“We’ve needed it for a while,” he said. “Now we’ve got to make it work.”
A real estate arm of Stratum bought the 11,346-square-foot building on Feb. 8 for $1.75 million, according to Sarasota County property records.
Renovations of the still-to-be-named building are expected to begin shortly and a grand opening is anticipated this summer. Paradise Center will relocate to the building from its current location in Temple Beth Israel
Besides the medical suite, Paradise Center and JFCS, the other building tenants will include Fitness Quest Physical Therapy and the Center for Brain Health.
“People want to age in place,” said Nicci Kobritz, founder of the Center for Brain Health who got Stratum and the Paradise Center together to talk about partnering on the medical center. “We want Longboat Key to evolve I to a model of continuing care.”
Added Fleece: “It’s a beginning of wonderful things to come.”