FORNEY, TX-PM Realty Group will break ground in mid-July on a $45-million medical complex, realizing a long-time vision by city leaders to get services on the ground in the rapidly growing suburb. The medical office component is 88% preleased, with two local family practitioners getting credit as catalysts for the project.

Forney Medical Plaza, a 13.8-acre plan, will sit near the junction of US Hwy. 80 and FM 548. The 7.2-acre first phase will consist of a 54,286-sf, two-story medical office building. But, the second and third phases, planned for a 6.8-acre optioned tract, are expected to get under way as the office building nears completion. Phase two is a 12,000-sf ambulatory surgery center and the last piece will be a 60-bed hospital.

The ambulatory center’s operator, which will be a national firm, and the healthcare system for the hospital will be decided during the first phase of construction, according to Glen Perkins, executive vice president and managing director of development and acquisitions for Houston-based PM Realty Group. “I’m certain there will be a number of hospital systems that would like to go there,” he says.

Perkins’ certainty is tied to demand from rising rooftops in a suburb situated 20 miles east of Dallas. Local physician partners Drs. Wesley Wilson and Les Sandkop led the preleasing signup, a driver for physicians from other suburban complexes, including PM Realty-built projects, to jump on board. The list now includes a cardiologist, obstetrician and gynecologist, orthopedist, pathologist and surgeons plus a pharmacy and infusion center. Perkins is still looking for a dermatologist, urologist and oral surgeon to round out the specialty mix.

“You have to create a nucleus of physicians to have a successful hospital and successful surgery center,” Perkins points out, adding general practitioners is the key because they make the referrals. A second medical office building, boosting the all-in cost by another $10 million, should be ready to rise when the hospital goes up.

Perkins says most medical complexes are 60% preleased when construction starts. “We’ve had really good demand by physicians wanting to be in that area,” he says. “Just to show their commitment, they’ve signed 10-year leases. They’re not going anywhere.” With the traction, he’s willing to bet all the class A space will be 100% leased when doors swing open in summer 2008. The quoted rate is $26 per sf plus electric.

GSR-Andrade Architects of Dallas and McCalla Rios Architects of Houston designed the complex. Century Bank financed it. The developer effectively is a joint venture made up of the tenants and a PM Realty affiliate. PM Realty Group will retain leasing and property management rights.

Forney’s population has increased more than 30% since 2000 and projections call for another 30% hike within five years. “This new project will allow us to provide seven days-a-week healthcare with an immediate access to specialists and services that Forney has not had in the past,” Wilson, one of the lead physicians, says in a press release.

Perkins says the burgeoning population is driving all types of construction in a business and retail park, City Plaza, being developed by SKW Holdings LLC of Forney, and seller of the development site to PM Realty. “We’re right dead in the middle of the development,” Perkins says. “We’ve been working on this well over a year. We’re bringing to the community what they’ve been trying to achieve for a couple years.”

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