In less than 2 years you could be shopping at the oaks mall while waiting for a family member to get out of surgery.
Here are the details about UF Health's plans to move two medical departments into the current Sears location.
UF Health's move to the Oaks Mall will double the size of space available for UF Health's Laryngology Department which deals with ear, nose and throat patients and Ophthalmology Department which focuses on eye care.
The President of UF Health Dr. David Guzick explained why the move is needed."They've been growing very rapidly, still, it can take some time to get an appointment but it can still take some time because there's so much demand for their service."
The new facility will also make patient care more efficient because they won't need to travel to multiple locations for an outpatient surgery.
Dr. Guzick said, "We'll have imaging that patients need right there as well as any surgical procedure, we'll have an outpatient surgery unit."
Some neighbors of the Oaks Mall say they think it's a good idea which could even increase mall visitorship.
Lindy Armstrong is the owner of Scrubs By Design which is located in the Oaks Mall Plaza, she said. "I think its a great idea, parking's not an issue now, there's lots of parking at the mall. If you're waiting, a lot of people having procedures are waiting a long time, so people waiting can go get a drink or something to eat while they're waiting for somebody they're with that are having a procedure done. So I think its a win-win for both mall and medical people."
Dr. Guzick mentioned how much the entire project will cost when he said UF Health will pay yearly rent for the 139 thousand square foot space in addition to millions for renovations.
"All of that space is being leased to us for 6$ a square foot as a base rent and then we're going to add about 28 million dollars in our estimation to do the restoration."
Sears closes in July, the empty space will be given to UF Health in October. Estimates for the new facilities completion date are it should be operational by early 2020.