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Warehouse Rebuilt for Health Facility : Developer Expects Building Innovations Will Cut the Cost of Medical Treatment

April 14, 1985|TERENCE M. GREEN | Times Staff Writer

A need and an opportunity to meet it--and a man to do the job.

The man is Oscar Katz, a Santa Monica multi-residential and commercial builder for more than 25 years. The need is for a way to help doctors reduce the cost of their work so that the expense of medical care to the patient can be reduced.

The opportunity was the old Redman Van & Storage warehouse at 2428 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, built in 1923 but empty and unused (except by vagrants) for many years.

Like most good buildings of that era, it was built solidly, and the main structure was in good shape. Katz noted that the building is less than four blocks from St. John's Hospital. He conceived the idea of a medical office building/outpatient diagnostic and treatment center offering fuller and more specialized services to the tenants than do most--in fact, a "one-stop" care center.

The plan evolved after Katz bought the building in 1979. He retained architect William Dale Brantley, architecture and project approval consultants Muselli & Heyman, both Santa Monicans, and builder Jones Brothers Construction Corp., and the final plan was worked out.

Construction started in March, 1983, and it is expected that the building's shell will be completed late this month. Tenant improvements will begin after that.

$8-Million Project

When finished, the $8-million project--renamed Parkside Medical Center--will contain 40,000 square feet of space, enough for up to 29 medical suites (depending on individual size) and 163 subterranean and surface parking spaces.

Katz and Parkside's director of business development, Stan Dyer, said the key to reaching their goal is shortening what they call "cure time." This would be achieved through on-site diagnostic laboratories and by offering doctors the latest in electronic communications and business equipment.

In addition to a pharmacy, there will be a clinical laboratory, a cardio-pulmonary laboratory and a radiological diagnostic laboratory containing a CAT scanner.

The center will be, in the current parlance, a "smart" building, equipped with an optional package that includes a computer network cable system to enable physicians to communicate with other doctors in the building, the pharmacy, the central business office, one or more professional/scientific data bases and with the laboratories. In theory, a doctor could be in communication with the CAT scan operator during an examination to guide the course of the procedure.

Medicare Payments

As explained by Katz and Dyer, the diagnostic laboratories and communication system are expected to help offset the results of the new DRG (diagnostic-related groups) method of Medicare payments under which the hospital is paid--and it is expected the doctor soon will be paid--a flat sum for the treatment of a disease or condition, rather than for actual services performed.

Thus, they said, any saving in diagnosis and testing leaves more money for treatment; if the diagnosis can be completed before the patient is hospitalized, more money is left for hospital care.

Architect Brantley provided a central core elevators, stairwells, restrooms and other facilities. It leaves an atrium nearly 15 feet wide at the street side, about 4 feet wide at the back and 52 feet high. Each floor's elevator lobby from the core to the main building will be glassed in and can serve as a waiting area.

The poured concrete frame in the main building was saved. After the building was gutted and the ground floor repoured, reconstruction took place. The exterior appearance changed because the previously blank outer walls were pierced for modern windows. A penthouse with conference room, library and lounges will be on top of the four-story main building.

Marketing is handled by Muselli Medical Leasing, a division of Santa Monica-based Muselli & Co. Realtors, as is Muselli & Heyman.

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