Fort Lauderldae to become USA’s holistic health destination

Fort Lauderdale may become the nation’s holistic health destination for upscale baby boomers if developers launch a $102.6 million makeover of the former Cleveland Clinic, which includes 172 condominium-hotel and time-share units.

‘The Lauderdale Beach Wellness Resort will become a world-class holistic health center, the first of its kind in Florida,’ said Donald Kipnis, CEO of Miami-based Miller & Solomon Construction Co., the project’s prime developer.

Plans call for a range of services and amenities, featuring urgent care, homeopathic, alternative and traditional medicine, including yoga, acupuncture and acupressure, cosmetic dentistry and surgery.

By 2010, 35 percent of the nation’s population will exceed age 50, including more than 1 million centenarians, Kipnis said.

Since August, Kipnis’ limited liability company has had an option with contingencies to purchase the Fort Lauderdale Cleve-land Clinic, located on North Ocean Avenue between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal.

High net worth investors sought

The project, which would serve as a syndication prototype, seeks investors ages 45 to 65 with annual incomes exceeding $250,000 and a net worth of at least $1 million to join KRK Development, First National Equities and National Quest Wellness Resorts to fund the project, Kipnis said.

Other principals include Ronald Mastriana, who has developed the Sawgrass Mills mall, Beach Place, Dadeland Mall, The Galleria, Le Club Condominium and Ocean Grande Condominium; Howard J. Peterson and Lawrence L. Kibler, president of Miller & Solomon.

‘It’s the first of its kind, since nothing else in Florida looks like this and combines health and residential functions,’ said project architect Donald Zimmer of Fort Lauderdale.

The 11-story condominium tower’s rooms would form what Zimmer called a ‘donut shape,’ looking down on the existing clinic structure.

‘This concept is very difficult to build, very functional with modular units, representing the mixed-use feeling,’ he added.

Zimmer is in the early drafting stages, anticipating at least 10 months for the wellness resort to percolate through the city of Fort Lauderdale’s various permitting agencies.

‘I think the concept is awesome,’ he said.

Project manager Donald Race of Fort Lauderdale echoed Zimmer’s enthusiasm. The barrier island community response is overwhelmingly positive, he said.

Residents reportedly back idea

‘When Cleveland Clinic left, more than 20,000 residents signed a petition urging the hospital to stay put,’ Race said, noting the resort would be a totally integrated health wellness center. ‘We’ve tentatively lined up financing.’

Developers would draw down on the construction loan or mezzanine financing after 60 percent of condo units are pre-sold, Race said.

During four years of funding, Race projected a total net revenue of $152.8 million and a bricks-and-mortar cost of $102.6 million, yielding a $40 million net profit after debt service, an executive summary on the report plan intended for investors shows.

The resort would include 72 interval ownership units, each with about 1,250 square feet, priced at between $20,000 and $25,000 a week; 88 1,000-square-foot condo-hotel units priced at between $300,000 and $400,000; and 12 corporate three-bedroom condominiums priced at about $1 million.

Annual operating projections are being prepared, as well as the resort’s business model. ‘We trying to promote lifestyle changes through integrated and holistic medicine,’ Race said.

Care that’s carefree

The proposed resort features an urgent care center, diagnostic and laboratory rooms, patient rooms, on-site emergency medical services, medical offices, restaurants, fitness and medical spa, a wide range of homeopathic modalities including yoga, transcendental meditation detoxification, nutrition and a nonprofit medical education center for South Florida’s health practitioners, Race said.

There are 750 wellness centers in the country, but none that are combined with residences.

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