Colorado Mountain Medical opens Avon office
July 9, 2016
AVON — In March 2015, Todd Varney told the planning commission if the Buck Creek Medical Plaza was to be a success, a tight deadline loomed.
Varney, a director with health care real estate developers NexCore Group, was referring to Colorado Mountain Medical's lease with Vail Valley Medical Center at their Edwards location. The lease ends July 31.
"A few weeks doesn't sound like a lot of time in the real world, but … we have an end user that has a really tight end-time frame," Varney told the Avon Planning Commission. "From a realistic standpoint, even the slightest delay hurts us considerably."
In the end, the plan was approved without delay, the facility was constructed on schedule and on Saturday, Colorado Mountain Medical's former office on Beard Creek Road moved the last piece of equipment from Edwards to its new home — the second floor of the Buck Creek Medical Plaza in Avon.
"It was quite a feat," Colorado Mountain Medical CEO Brooks Bock said last week. "Our staff has been amazing. They planned and implemented a huge move and didn't miss a beat. We closed on Friday (June 24) at noon in the Edwards office, and we were open in all of our offices Monday (June 27) at 8 a.m."
BETTER USE OF SPACE
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Colorado Mountain Medical is one of the largest medical providers in Eagle County for individual and family care, with numerous primary care physicians, specialists and other health practitioners on staff. They operate offices in Vail, Eagle and now Avon after moving to Buck Creek from Edwards.
The new Avon location is not much larger — 13,000 square feet vs. 12,500 in their former location in Edwards — but by using new efficiencies of space, Colorado Mountain Medical was able to net three more exam rooms, two more procedure rooms and one new dermatologist in the new location.
The organization received an education in wise use of space about a year ago when their Vail office was forced to move to the nearby U.S. Bank building to accommodate construction at the Vail Valley Medical Center hospital, where the Vail offices used to be located.
"When we moved from inside the front door of the hospital to the bank building, we downsized quite a bit," Bock said. "To be able to downsize we had to find a way to conserve on space."
Conserving on space meant consolidating the work stations for the organization's many physicians and clinical assistants.
"Previously we had independent offices scattered throughout our clinical space," Bock said.
In the new building, physicians and their assistants sit across from one another in the same work space to make communication easier. Personnel work stations are located on the perimeter of the facility, while examination and procedure rooms are located in the center.
The better use of space at the Buck Creek facility will result in a better service for those visiting the medical offices there, Bock said.
"It think it will be a better patient experience," Bock said, "and hopefully we'll be able to — with the other healthcare institutions in the community — help to hold down the ever-increasing cost of healthcare."
ER TO OPEN Wednesday
One of the other healthcare institutions to which Bock was referring is their new neighbor, Centura Health, who will — out of the lower level of the 48,000-square-foot Buck Creek Medical Plaza — operate a 24-hour per day, seven-day-per-week emergency and urgent care center, set to open Wednesday.
Bock said Colorado Mountain Medical started courting Centura when they saw the possibility for the Buck Creek Medical Plaza take form.
"We wanted to look at a new property," Bock said. "We wanted to be in Avon or Edwards, and property there was very expensive so we found that we couldn't afford it."
Should they have been able to find said property, Colorado Mountain Medical already had a developer in mind with the NexCore Group.
"What (NexCore and Colorado Mountain Medical) found was that it was too expensive to buy the land and put 13,000 square feet on it," Bock said. "So NexCore suggested that if we were able to identify a front-range institution that might also be interested in a piece of property, then the economies of scale would be such that we could afford the rent in the 13,000 square feet that we wanted."
Colorado Mountain Medical approached Kaiser Permanante, Centura and the University of Colorado, and ultimately it was Centura who was most interested in shaping their own footprint in the area, Bock said.
Centura spokesperson Paul Chodkowski said the decision to expand health care services in Eagle County was based on an evaluation of the community's needs undertaken in the fall of 2014.
"We did our analysis of the market on the western side of Eagle County, and the need that would support the development of an emergency center there, and it looked very positive," he said.
Another enticing part of the deal, says Chodkowski, was the location.
"It's directly off the freeway, it will be visible, it will be well done in terms of the building's aseptic and construction, and I think it will be a premier emergency center with other medical services," he said.
Securing that location was no easy task. The land was owned by the Eagle River Fire Protection District, who purchased it several years ago realizing the unavailable adjacent lot would be better for their needs. By convincing the owners of that lot — the Oscar Tang Group — to sell to NexCore, who would then swap lots with the fire district, the town of Avon and NexCore pulled off a public-private collaboration the likes of which Avon has never seen.
"NexCore got their last approval and broke ground the next day," said Avon Town Manager Virginia Egger. "The company is very good at what they do."
The accomplishment is now used as a point of pride — bullet points of pride, actually, and several of them — on NexCore's website. A page dedicated to the Buck Creek Medical Plaza on nexcoregroup.com says "within a short, seven-month window," NexCore:
• Purchased land from a governmental entity.
• Completed a land swap with an adjacent neighbor.
• Completed entitlements.
• Executed leases with Centura Health and a large physician practice.
• Designed the building and broke ground.
Learn more about the project by visiting http://www.nexcoregroup .com/projects/2016buck-creek- medical-plaza.