Defunct bookstores just what the doctor ordered
CARROLLWOOD - When Borders closed all three of its Hillsborough County bookstores last year, both Dale Mabry Highway locations were acquired for renovation as medical clinics. The former Borders in Carrollwood, purchased by Florida Medical Clinic for $3.85 million, is being renovated as a comprehensive extended-hours facility to include primary care physicians, family care internists, an array of specialists and an urgent-care facility. "There will be a strong primary care presence there, so we'll have a lot of family practice doctors; we'll have internists, cardiology services, orthopedic services, ENT, pulmonologists" and more, said Joe Delatorre, chief executive officer of the medical group with 22 area offices, primarily in central and east Pasco County and northern Hillsborough. The facility also will have onsite laboratory and diagnostic services. The 23,486-square-foot building provides sufficient space to create the comprehensive facility he said patients have come to expect: "You can come see your primary care doctor and see many of your specialists, conveniently located within the same facility."Delatorre said an early January opening is possible for the building at 12500 N. Dale Mabry Highway. "When you're dealing with an established building — one of the reasons that attracted us to this location — it's a renovation, so permits are easier to deal with and the review process is easier," he said. Other factors make former Borders stores attractive for renovation as a medical facility. A big-box bookstore with its unobstructed floor plan is wide open to complete redesign. "We can configure anything we want inside it," Delatorre said. Renovations are expected to cost $1.5 million. "But I think the big issue is, as physician practices grow and mature and develop and provide more comprehensive services, they need larger facilities," he said. "And some of the traditional retail space that hasn't done well is a good fit for us." "It's cost effective, in a high-traffic area with good visibility," Delatorre said. Founded in 1993, Florida Medical Clinic today has about 135 physicians among its approximately 1,000 employees. About eight miles south of the newest Florida Medical Clinic site, a former Borders at 909 N. Dale Mabry also has been renovated as a medical facility — the 27,544-square-foot South Tampa office of Florida Orthopedic Institute. The practice offering a comprehensive range of treatments for bone and joint problems has a dozen Tampa Bay area locations, from Dade City to Sun City Center, including its 82,240 square-foot headquarters on Telecom Parkway in Temple Terrace. Borders, a chain that helped pioneer superstores that many mom-and-pop bookshops blamed for their own downfall, filed for reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in February 2011, sunk by crushing debt and sluggishness in adapting to a rapidly changing industry. Two months later, it shed most of its 399 stores and 10,700 employees.
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