MemorialCare Medical Group has turned a former Borders bookstore in Long Beach into its first consolidated medical office building.

The affiliate of MemorialCare Health System in Fountain Valley last week opened the building at the Los Altos Market Center. The renovated two-story building includes a 24-7 urgent care center with lab and digital X-ray facilities as well as space for more than 20 physicians to practice.

MemorialCare Health System, which had been considering opening a medical building in its largest market for some time, got the idea for a retail storefront from one of its board members, Keith Nelson, who drives past the shopping center regularly. The Bellflower Boulevard medical building is not far from the system’s three hospitals in Long Beach: Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach and Community Hospital Long Beach.

Dr. David Kim, the director of the medical office building, said the office building will start out with 10 affiliated primary care physicians, plus up to five part-time specialists. The office building will initially employ about 50 people and potentially more than 100.

“The more we looked at the space, the more we realized how it met our objectives,” Kim said. “It’s in an area where there is a real need for primary care. Having it in a retail space makes it very accessible to our patients, both geographically and psychologically. It’s near the 405 freeway; there’s free parking, a supermarket, a drugstore and lots of restaurants, so it can be in the middle of your errand run for the day.”

Real estate developer Robert Manarino, whose Irvine-based Manarino Realty brought in the now-defunct Borders, took a bit more convincing. Manarino said he had gotten plenty of interest in the 30,000-square-foot space since the bookstore went out of business more than a year ago, but no takers, largely because it had been build-to-suit.

“Now I really believe this is the future for health care,” said Manarino, adding that he’s in early discussions with another health system that might be interested in a storefront at another of his L.A. retail centers. “Health care is moving out of the hospital and into the neighborhood, where it’s easier for people to access. And our other tenants are very happy to see this medical building open.”

Pediatric Partnership

In a new partnership, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is offering its pediatric care expertise to Providence Tarzana Medical Center.

Under an agreement that took effect Jan. 1, Providence Tarzana’s pediatric unit and newly expanded Mozilo Family Foundation Pediatric Intensive Care Unit will be jointly operated by the two hospitals.

Providence Tarzana patients will continue to get care from their own doctors, who will now have easier access to Children’s Hospital specialists for consultations. A nurse manager from Children’s Hospital will oversee the partnership in consultation with hospital administrators, physicians and nurses. Children’s Hospital also will offer additional training and education to Providence Tarzana staff.

The partnership comes as Providence Tarzana renovates its pediatrics program to unite its general pediatric unit with the recently renamed Mozilo Family Foundation Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on a single floor. The renovations, which will expand the intensive care unit from seven to eight beds, is being financed in part by a donation from the Phyllis and Angelo R. Mozilo Family Foundation.

Angelo Mozilo is the former chief executive of Calabasas-based Countrywide Financial, the mortgage lender that helped drive the housing boom and bust. He denied any wrongdoing but paid a $22.5 million personal fine.

“In creating this affiliation, we are ensuring that children in our community who need hospital care can receive the best possible treatment right here, near their parents,” Dr. Cesar Chavarria, medical director of pediatrics at Providence Tarzana, said in a statement.

The partnership grew from conversations among physicians at both hospitals over the years. Although this is the first partnership of its scope for Children’s Hospital, both it and Providence Tarzana’s parent company, Providence Health & Services, Southern California, also jointly run the adolescent and young adult oncology program at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center.

Spa Capital

Century City’s Breakwater Investment Management LLC last month made what it called a significant investment in luxury hotel spa operator Exhale Enterprises Inc.

New York-based Exhale, owned by West L.A. investment company Brentwood Associates, offers trendy mind-body fitness classes and spa-healing therapies at 20 properties, including the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica and Gansevoort Hotels in New York. Breakwater targets investment opportunities in lower middle-market growth businesses.

Staff reporter Deborah Crowe can be reached at dcrowe@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 232.

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