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New Lovelace building to bring retail, road improvements

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Argus Investment Realty is shooting for a March 2017 opening of a medical office building for Lovelace Medical Group/Southwest Medical Associates. (Courtesy Dekker/Perich/Sabatini)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The latest project from a developer capitalizing on the Albuquerque medical office building market will not only transform an empty lot at Jefferson and Osuna into a clinic for a major health care provider, but it will also bring new tenants and some roadwork on the adjacent street, the owner and president of Argus Investment Realty said.

“We are going to start moving dirt in the next two weeks,” said Scott Throckmorton of Argus, referring to plans to build a two-story, 43,000-square-foot clinic near Jefferson and Osuna for client Lovelace Medical Group/Southwest Medical Associates.

Initially, Lovelace will be the sole tenant within a larger project called Independence Square that the developer said could cost $25 to $30 million at total buildout.

After getting the office building rolling for Lovelace, landlord Throckmorton hopes to line up tenants for an 8,000-square-foot strip center fronting Jefferson.

“A restaurant would be the primary inker on that,” said Throckmorton of the ground lease he hopes to announce soon.

He said the number of visitors to the clinic each day, not to mention employees and vendors, is a strong attraction for a retail tenant.

“There will be 100 exam rooms, so you might have 1,000 patients a day,” Throckmorton said.

Throckmorton said plans call for widening Jefferson between San Antonio and Osuna as well as installation of a center-turn lane.

The medical industry is driving development for many players, said Throckmorton, who added that another Argus project came to fruition last year in record time. He was referring to the 10,000-square-foot clinic built in 2015 for New Mexico Orthopaedics  across from Presbyterian Rust Medical Center.

“We signed the lease on New Year’s Eve (2014),” he said.¬† “They opened on June 1. That one went fast.”

Lovelace said 30 to 40 physicians will move their practices into the building along with more than 100 staff members.

Bank of Albuquerque is providing financing for the medical office building, which was designed by architects Dekker/Perich/Sabatini.

Throckmorton said Argus is eyeing other build-to-suit medical projects in Albuquerque. And that activity is getting a serious boost from a health care environment that is expanding insurance to many new patients in New Mexico.

The Wall Street Journal last year reported that an estimated 8.8 million square feet of medical office space would have been developed across the United States by the end of 2015.  In 2014, 7.1 million square feet was developed across the country.

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