Summit Orthopedics proposes $3.5M plan at sports center

Woodbury-based Summit Orthopedics is recommitting to the community, and in a big way — a big, 7,250-square-foot way.

If all goes according to plans, Summit Orthopedics and the City of Woodbury will both sign a lease next month that will expand Summit Orthopedics’ operations into Bielenberg Sports Center for the next 10 years.

By Summit’s proposal, the medical group will occupy both the space that was vacated by the Minnesota United Football Club, and the second floor area that was previously designated for a restaurant. And Summit hopes to be in full operation at Bielenberg Sports Center by next spring.

Summit Orthopedics representatives shared their plans for the building with the Woodbury City Council during a Nov. 18 workshop.

The company plans to spend about $3.5 million to build out the interior of the space called the “annex” — the space that was originally built to house the Minnesota United’s practice facility. Work on the annex ceased last year when the United stepped out of the contract for the space. The annex includes a brick exterior shell, some basic electrical wiring, and a dirt floor.

Working with Hope Architects, the firm that originally designed the Bielenberg Sports Center expansion, Summit plans to construct a main level and mezzanine level in the vacant space. The company plans to have the main entrance, a reception desk, and spaces for fitness training, physical therapy and the associated equipment on the ground level. The mezzanine space will house doctor offices and X-ray equipment.

The idea, Summit Orthopedics Chief Operating Officer Bill Frommelt said, is to provide sports medicine clinics, sports and rehabilitation therapy, physician clinics, athletic training, strength and speed training, walk-in injury care, fitness classes, personal training, nutrition classes and counseling, and community education, all at BSC.

“From a doctor’s standpoint, we’re all thinking and clamboring about who gets to be there,” Dr. Peter Daly said.

Second floor

Not all of Summit’s plans can be carried out in the annex location, though. That’s why, in addition to the annex space, Summit Orthopedics also wants to lease the space on the second floor of Bielenberg Sports Center, where a restaurant was previously planned

Woodbury City Administrator Clint Gridley said the city did try to market the second floor space to food vendors. However, those who looked at the space thought it was too small, too far from the main level where the activity was, or too close to other food options like Jerry’s Foods or Jimmy John’s, across the street.

And it is for those same reasons, Gridley said, the city is not interested in running a food service operation at BSC, either. For the city, it would be, “very risky business,” he said.

Summit Orthopedics, however, sees a chance to use the space for an extension of its programs. In particular, Mike Weibel, director of ancillary services, said Summit would like to use that open space to hold some of its fitness classes, nutrition classes and community education classes.

The space will also be available for catered social events hosted by either Summit Orthopedics or through the City of Woodbury, but it will not be converted into a formal food service operation.

Woodbury City Council member Paul Rebholz likes everything that is proposed for Bielenberg Sports Center, and he understands the reasons why the second floor space may no longer be used as a restaurant. But he does have reservations about the decision, all the same.

“It’s not that I don’t think (the plan) sounds interesting,” he said. “It’s just that we talked about having food options out there, and I think that’s what people are expecting.”

Still, councilmembers are on board with the proposal from Summit Orthopedics. A few details still need to be ironed out, but the lease is expected to come before council for approval at the Dec. 9 regular meeting.

Commitment to community

The 30-year-old Summit Orthopedics has four locations around Woodbury, and calls the community home. The company employs more than 400 people, most of whom live or work in Woodbury.

The thing is, some of Summit’s current facilities are at capacity, and the company is ready to expand. By building at Bielenberg Sports Center, Daly said, the medical group can serve up to 350 more patients, and start to offer more kinds of wellness and preventative services to the patients they already serve.

“It’s a perfect fit for us,” Daly said. “This commits us more to the community.”

As part of the lease agreement, Summit Orthopedics will commit $100,000 of funding to community wellness or exercise projects in the first year, and another $50,000 annually after that. Possible projects identified in the lease include the Madison’s Place all-inclusive playground, exercise trail management, community wellness events, and other projects to which the city and Summit Orthopedics agree upon in the future.

Summit will begin construction in the annex shortly after the lease is signed. The company has up to 120 days to work on the construction before it starts to pay the monthly rent on the site. By the terms of the lease, Summit will pay $8,625 monthly for the first year; thereafter, rent will increase annually by 1.5 percent. The lease is for a 120-month term.

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