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UNION CITY, NJ-In an effort to get physicians to practice in an inner city, Kennedy Medical Center here is offering one-time grants of between $10,000 and $50,000 to young doctors who want to set up their practice in the building.

“We are trying to encourage young, entrepreneurial physicians to come into communities that they might not normally look at,” says Frederick S. Fish, managing member of Grand Metropolitan Properties of North America. “Certainly, Union City is densely populated and very much in the need of a number of sub-specialties that may be drifting to other places.”

Grand Metropolitan Properties and its equity partner, the Real Estate Equity Co., are offering the grants. Treeco is headquartered in Englewood and was co-founded by Fish and Nathan J. Shmalo, both principals. Together, the managing partners jointly own and manage a $500-million portfolio of shopping centers in the New York metropolitan area.

Fish tells GlobeSt.com that some of the owners of Grand Metropolitan Properties also have an economic stake in Kennedy Medical Center. However, the company itself has no equity interest in the building. “We are an independent organization that is prepared to make grants for the medical community in that specific location to encourage young doctors who don’t have a real credit history yet and are just starting out,” he says.

Jaime M. Weiss, president of Weiss Realty, is the exclusive broker for the building. “With student loans to pay off, insurance payments and other various bills doctors need to pay, plans to open private practices are often denied due to a lack of capital,” he says. “With this grant program, doctors will be able to use the money for initial costs, namely build-out.”

Vice president Matthew Weiss is overseeing the leasing program. “In an effort to add even more diversity to our present corps of tenants, the medical center is seeking other select medical professionals to establish their practices in Union City,” he says. “Many specialties–cardiology, gastroenterology and emergency care centers to name a few–would not only be a good fit here, but would also quickly develop a large patient base, as Union City is one of the most densely populated cities in the nation.”

Current tenants at Kennedy Medical Center include Retina Associates, Labcorp, Bayada Nurses Inc., Progressive Pediatrics, HealthCheck Eye Center, Confident Care, Kennedy Dental Center, Premier Orthopedics, Progressive Medical Imaging and Sports/Physical Therapy. Located at 3196 Kennedy Blvd. off Rt. 3, the four-story, art deco building was built in the late 1920s, Fish says. The entire structure spans 100,000 square feet, with 40,000 square feet set aside for medical offices. The remainder is for retail uses.

Currently, there are five available medical office suites ranging from 600 square feet to 4,555 square feet. Of the 40,000 square feet of medical offices, 38,000 square feet is now occupied. “But some of the physician leases are expiring and we anticipate that we can encourage some new people to come in,” Fish says. “It’s an experiment and we are trying to determine if it proves vital. If it works well, we will expand the program.”

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