July 12, 2016

New Neurology Center Planned for East Memphis

– The Memphis Business Journal  –

The South’s leading neurology group will consolidate its Germantown office with part of its Midtown practice into a new $12 million ambulatory surgical center on Humphreys Boulevard.

Semmes-Murphey Clinic plans to move into a 50,000-square-foot building to be built at 6325 Humphreys. Boyle Investment Company will begin construction later this month and plans to complete the work in about 14 months.

Semmes-Murphey in August won a $3 million certificate of need from the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission for an MRI unit and the surgery center. The relocation will cost about $8 million for Semmes-Murphey, practice administrator Jeff Strawn says.

Though licensed as an outpatient surgery center, the facility will only do simple procedures initially, including pain injections and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.

"As of now I’m not planning to do any back surgery there," neurosurgeon Kevin Foley says. "I do outpatient endoscopic discetomies right now at Methodist-Central. Those might move out there in the future, but those decisions have not been made. It is evolving as we speak."

With the move, the practice will combine 12,000 square feet of operations now at 1365 South Germantown Road, plus part of the practice at 930 Madison. At least 10 physicians will continue to practice in the Medical Center.

"What’s still being decided is what part of the clinic will move," says Foley, who is also an associate professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

"The academic focus will still be Downtown. Semmes-Murphey is not abandoning Downtown."

The building is essentially the same as Boyle built on an adjacent parcel at 6305 Humphreys, occupied by Financial Federal Bank, Wunderlich Securities and Data Communications Corp. Boyle slightly modified the same plan for a 48,000-square-foot building at 100 Humphreys. The West Clinic is taking that entire building to house its oncology practice.

"What’s good about the design is that they’ve built it two other times," Strawn says. "They know the cost intrinsically and there’s’s no point in reinventing the wheel."

Boyle likes the design of the two-story building, and finds it very adaptable for medical uses.

"It’s a very flexible floor plan to start with, and we modified it with the help of Medical Design International in Atlanta," says Mark Halperin, senior vice president of office properties for Boyle. "In these medical applications the floor plate is different from a regular corporate use."

Boyle and Semmes-Murphey have been planning the building for eight months. Medical uses require a wider building to accommodate more activity than happens in an office building. Patients are coming and going and staff move around a lot. Equipment also gets shuttled from room to room.

"There’s also functional issues," Halperin says. "You have greater loads on the heating and air conditioning, the electricity, and you need more than 20% additional parking spaces. Plenty of office buildings were never intended to house medical space but they do and it’s kind of a burden on them."

He will not disclose the cost of the new building, but the industry average in Memphis for constructing Class A medical office space is $105 per square foot, putting the new building at $5.2 million.

The dedicated MRI will be used only for imaging the head and spine, and will replace some procedures now done in hospitals, Strawn says.

"I expect 12 imaging procedures a day, so I’m confident we can support that unit," he says.

Exterior architect for Semmes-Murphey is Fleming & Associates. Construction will be by Mid-America Construction Company.