Office condo concept wins med operators

Office condo concept wins med operators

March 27th, 2009 by Jason Reynolds in Business

Dr. Rink Murray says it was a "no brainer" for him and his business partner to open their reproductive endocrinology practice in an unfinished office condo.

"With a hospital, we would not have the amount of flexible space we do here," said Dr. Murray, who owns Tennessee Reproductive Medicine.

This fall, Dr. Murray and his partner, Dr. Jessica Scotchie, began renting an office condo at the Corporate Image West complex on Shallowford Road.

Ken DeFoor, the developer of Corporate Image West, is expanding the office complex, which when complete will have a development cost of $10 million. Corporate Image West is in the 6000 block of Shallowford Road near Highway 153.

Corporate Image West's new phase has 50,000 square feet of subdividable space, Mr. DeFoor said, bringing the complex's total size to 90,000 square feet. He has additional land available for future growth.

The facility is next to and across the street from Corporate Image and Shallowford Commons, other Ken DeFoor office condos.

The facility is ideal for professionals from insurance to real estate, Mr. DeFoor said, but medical businesses seem especially drawn to it.

Dr. Richard Krause agrees. He moved his clinical research business to Corporate Image West in February 2008, where he bought his office space. Dr. Krause's business, ClinSearch, conducts pharmaceutical clinical trials with volunteers.

"I wish I had moved here years ago," he said. "It's more convenient for patients. You don't pay for parking and it's off the expressway."

Dr. Murray said that while his operation is renting its space for now, he and his partner would like to buy the condo eventually. They chose to lease the space so they would have more capital to invest in their clinic, especially in expensive in vitro equipment.

They custom-designed their office's interior, especially the lab, which had to meet strict requirements such as air filtering, Dr. Murray said.

Medical offices often need to do custom build-outs of their spaces, Mr. DeFoor said. That's why Corporate Image West's interiors remain unfinished until the condo is sold or leased.

A finished medical office at Corporate Image West costs about $225 per square foot, which includes a full build-out, Mr. DeFoor said. A nonmedical office may cost about $190 per square foot, he said. Medical offices often have more plumbing, cabinetry and design specifications than other offices.

Mr. DeFoor said that while sales were slow in late 2008, the year ended with strong numbers, and there have been many calls this month from possible buyers.

"The people who want to buy are getting financing from local banks," Mr. DeFoor said. "There's no shortage of financing."