VA takes possession of VA Clinic in Cape Coral
Officials say new VA Clinic should be open by the end of 2012.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently accepted possession of the new Lee County VA Healthcare Center in Cape Coral from Manhattan Construction.
Located on Diplomat Parkway in North Cape Coral, the clinic has created a buzz across the area since the VA purchased the 30 acre piece of land in 2006.
Now that the VA has taken possession, the clinic will begin installing medical equipment, furniture, and finishings and preparing the new clinic for occupancy.
The VA says they expect the clinic to be open in approximately six to eight months. Once open, the 220,000 square foot facility is expected to create over 300 jobs over the next few years.
Bay Pines VA Healthcare Systems will oversee the day to day operations of the new facility, making it one of the nine facilities run by Bay Pines in southern Florida. Once open, the clinic is projected to have 30,000 visits per year.
The new clinic will replace the current VA Outpatient Clinic located in Fort Myers. Many of the services offered at the Fort Myers clinic such as; primary care, mental health, audiology, cardiology, compensation and pension exams, Coumadin clinic, dermatology, eye care, gastroenterology and endoscopic procedures, home and community care, x-ray, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, neurology, nuclear imaging, nutrition counseling, orthopedics, pharmacy consultation and medication pick up, podiatry, prosthetics, rheumatology, tobacco cessation, Telehealth, telephone call center, social work, spinal cord injury, urology, dental, women’s care, and phlebotomy, will be expanded once the new clinic is open in Cape Coral.
The clinic has impressed those who have seen the facility since being built. On a recent tour of the facility, the Army Reserves highest ranking medical officer, Army Reserves Commanding General, Major General Robert Kasulke stated it was the most impressive VA clinic he has seen in the 25 years he has been involved with the VA.
While construction crews have worked continuously since breaking ground in 2010, city officials have worked feverishly in creating interest in the area surrounding the clinic in hopes of creating new economic development in the city.
The city labeled the area surrounding the clinic the Veterans Investment Zone (VIZ). Using the clinic as its centerpiece, they began marketing to developers, government agencies, and businesses throughout the world, “With many people who visit the clinic staying more than one day. You will have thousands per year shopping, eating, and staying in Cape Coral. It will certainly have a positive economic impact on our city and create the need for a multitude of businesses to open in our city,” says Cape Coral Council Member Kevin McGrail.
In 2011, Cape Coral’s city council approved over $1.4 million in incentives to attract businesses to relocate to the VIZ.
Through those efforts, the city recently announced the United States Army Reserves will build a Reserve Center adjacent to the clinic. Also, North American Properties, who has been responsible for such Cape Coral projects as the Target on Pine Island Road and Veterans Parkway, have purchased 120 acres at the corner of Diplomat Parkway and NE 24th Avenue. The company hopes the area will be home to a multitude of medical offices, retail shops, an educational facility, an assisted living facility, and multifamily units.
Then there is the Patriot Plaza. Larger than the clinic itself, once completed, the plaza will be home to medical offices, commercial offices, retail businesses and at least one hotel.
Expectations for the clinic and the surrounding areas are high, but city officials say that is with good reason, “This clinic will have an amazing impact on our city,” says McGrail. “I see it someday turning into a hospital, which would quadruple the personnel and impact it has on our city. This is only the beginning of great things this clinic will bring to Cape Coral.”