The Sanitas Medical Centers Healthcare Chain Is Exploding Across Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey
It's the call every retail leasing agent loves to get: a client ready to sign leases on multiple locations. Except in this case, with the rapidly expanding Sanitas Healthcare Centers, agents needed to hustle.
According to Orlando-based Franklin Street Senior Retail Leasing Director Terrence Hart, the healthcare company called in May, looking for locations for clinics in Orlando and Palm Beach, but "these locations had to be operational by December 2018,” Hart said in a statement.
Franklin Street Director for Retail Landlord Services in South Florida Justin Berryman was told in September to find several locations, with one catch: They would have to open by the first of the year.
"I had never heard of them until the summer," Berryman said.
Sanitas started out as the Colsanitas insurance company in Colombia in 1980. In the 1990s, it branched into facilities, opening hospitals, laboratories and dental and vision centers in Venezuela, Peru, Brazil and Mexico.
To improve its pipeline of healthcare workers, it even opened a university in Bogota. It expanded to Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and the U.S., eventually reaching 800 cities. The company began rebranding as Keralty in February.
About five years ago, a team from GuideWell (the parent company of Florida Blue health insurance, which is the Florida arm of Blue Cross Blue Shield) sent executives to Latin America to tour Sanitas' facilities there and study the culture around healthcare delivery. The companies then partnered up to open the first Sanitas sites in Doral, Hialeah and West Kendall, focusing on personalized and culturally sensitive care. There are no co-pays and the centers are bilingual.
“We’re well beyond [being an insurance company],” Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty told the Orlando Sentinel.
The medical centers offer primary care, urgent care, lab services, diagnostic imaging and pharmacy services. Clinics are targeted to patients insured through Medicare or Obamacare.
By 2017, Sanitas grew to 11 locations in the U.S. — nine in Florida and two in Connecticut. This year came a move into New Jersey as well as the Florida expansion. Ultimately, Sanitas has grown to 14 new locations here.
Franklin Street's leasing teams from both Orlando and South Florida teamed up, found space, executed the deals and were rewarded by being named Sanitas' exclusive broker for the South Florida expansions.
Berryman said Sanitas took spaces around South Florida as small as 4K SF and as big as 13K SF, and paid market rate, about $30-$40 PSF in submarkets like Coral Gables and in the teens in the cheaper submarkets. Mostly, the centers found second-generation space that had been vacated by other doctor's offices or urgent care businesses, some in medical office parks and some in free-standing buildings.
"The coolest thing about them is, it actually shows the pricing," he said, remembering signage in Doral. That was a refreshing change to typical American healthcare, he said. "You always go to the doctor and three months later, get a bill for $8K."