Woodbury Adds 300 Health Related Companies With Aim To Become A Medical Zone
But that might not be a bad idea, after the city recently announced that more than 300 health-related businesses have moved to the city.
These range from sprawling hospitals to specialist chiropractors to renal centers. If anyone needs to floss, the city’s dental offices are waiting – 73 of them.
“It’s amazing how Woodbury attracts people,” said Brian Delgado, spokesperson for Park Dental, who has left Lake Elmo to open his third office in Woodbury. “I can’t think of anyone else doing as well as Woodbury.”
A quarter of jobs are in the medical field
Community Development Director Janelle Schmitz attributes the city’s long-term planning to medical migration. Schmitz said about a quarter of Woodbury’s jobs – more than 6,000 – are currently in the medical field.
For cities hungry for economic growth, medical companies are in high demand. They pay high salaries, the buildings are attractive, they do not pollute, and they attract patients from a wide area.
“Medical businesses are very desirable from an economic development perspective,” Schmitz said.
The city has become a regional magnet for patients and for more health-related businesses.
“It’s a destination,” said Len Kaiser, executive director of Entira Family Clinics, which is expanding its Woodbury office. “A community of companies has been formed, which lean on each other. It’s a whole district of service providers.
“Medical campus district”
Medical growth started modestly, when the city established a “medical campus district” around the Woodwinds Health Campus in 2007.
In a way, it was a symbolic gesture. This zone gave no incentive for medical companies, no tax relief, and no relaxation of the city’s zoning rules. Schmitz said the medical companies could have moved there, or anywhere else in Woodbury. It was as if a city had simply declared an “aerospace zone” and expected rocket launchers were setting up shop there.
But apparently the area had symbolic importance. This made companies aware that the city was welcoming them, Schmitz said.
Several have moved to the 120 acre area. Medical companies have infiltrated – and then been inundated – at other sites in Woodbury.
Schmitz said they were drawn to the same factors that make Woodbury attractive to retail – access to two freeways and a wide age range of residents. The growing population meant additional workers for the companies.
Entira’s Kaiser said household income is high and people are more likely to have private insurance – a benefit for any health care provider.
Growth has developed its own dynamic. Businesses have found it convenient to be located near support businesses, such as pharmacies and supply stores.
More projects expected
The Park Dental experience is typical.
Park Dental dentist Matthew Hendrickson said the business initially opened in Lake Elmo. But from the windows of his current office, Hendrickson now looks across Interstate 94 at the medical buildings that rise up in the CityPlace development in Woodbury.
He decided to take the plunge – although Park Dental already has two branches in Woodbury.
The new clinic opened in June. “Woodbury has a good patient base, and it will only get better,” said Hendrickson.
What’s in store for you? No more medical construction. Approved projects that will be built this year or next include the 748 Bielenberg Medical Office Building, CityPlace Medical III, CityPlace Healthcare Specialty Center and Heartland Dental.