Wilton’s newest commercial space at 249 Danbury Rd. certainly has hearts racing in town–as the newly-named Wilton Wellness Center, with Western Connecticut Medical Group as its anchor tenant, the prognosis is a healthy one. The building opened for business late last month.
The very visible development is situated in the center of Wilton across from Town Hall on Rte. 7/Danbury Rd.–virtually the town’s main artery. It represents the type of commercial project that town officials hope to encourage to grow the business tax base and draw visitors to Wilton.
The development, owned by New Canaan-based Cambridge Hanover, is 50,000-plus sq. ft. of space designed to be a state-of the art medical facility, according to Sean McDonnell, principal with Avison Young, the commercial real estate services firm which helped put the deal together.
McDonnell is also a Wilton resident, and he says the building’s wellness center concept has organic roots.
“This project actually started with a discussion with a bunch of parents who are doctors. At Allen’s Meadow, we’re on the soccer sidelines, sitting there watching kids. Kids were being helped off the field from concussions, to ankles, to knees and they said, ‘You know, you should probably open up a medical center around here.’ I said, ‘I’ll build it if you’ll lease it.’ We started to think, okay where could we do that.”
The site they chose with an existing office building had sat vacant for years, but had recently become available, and McDonnell new it would be ideal. The building needed more than just a facelift though; it was demolished down to its steel skeleton, and underwent a multi-million dollar renovation–including the addition of a third floor–all designed for medical use.
McDonnell lists the exterior features that make it appealing to medical tenants: easy access and exit, with two driveways that both have lights and turn signals onto a major roadway; an oversized parking lot so there’s no circling around for parking; an easy-to-find location, with Town Hall across the way as a landmark; and visibility, with a monument to display their information on a road where almost 30,000 cars pass by each day.
The building’s interior is also built for to attract medical tenants–multiple elevators large enough to hold a gurney; completely new mechanicals, a brand new roof, and large, energy-efficient double-pane windows; and plenty of space for branding and signs.
Incoming tenants include infusion therapy, physical therapy and blood draw/laboratory, plus space for several other types of medical practices.
Both town officials and developers like McDonnell like the idea of branding Rte. 7 in Wilton as a medical corridor. The town is relatively equidistant between Danbury and Norwalk Hospitals, and assisted living facilities are proliferating both in the region and in Wilton. Stamford Hospital situated their own medical center just up the road at 372 Danbury Rd., and there’s also OrthoConnecticut and I-Park’s medical offices at Wilton’s southern border.
As McDonnell points out as well, “basically all the conduits come right into this area. Look at it where 33 comes down from Ridgefield, Route 7 comes down from Danbury, 106 comes from Weston and New Canaan. 33 goes to Westport. And obviously 7 goes down to Norwalk. Being able to get here and access this without getting on I-95 or the Merritt Parkway, which is critical given the massive … it makes Wilton a really essential location.”
What was essential for McDonnell, as a resident of the town, was that he wanted the Wellness Center to be done…well.
“It’s going to provide so many services for this community that they usually have to travel for. It’s going to allow seniors to really stay in this area, having a facility like this. This is one of the first projects I’m doing in Wilton and I have to sit on the sidelines with these parents every weekend and I coach baseball here, I need to make sure that this is done absolutely right,” he says.
Securing Western Connecticut Medical Group a Key Move
Key to getting it done right, McDonnell says, was getting Western Connecticut Medical Group to relocate its Wilton Primary & Specialty Care practice to the Wilton Wellness Center as the anchor tenant. As part of the practice’s move into the 15,000 sq. ft. space, WCMG expanded to focus on what they call “integrated, coordinated care.”
The concept is to locate both primary general health practitioners, like internal medicine physicians, with specialty care providers in the same facility, enabling patients to access integrated care in a single location. The office at 249 Danbury Rd. has 23 exam rooms to offer behavioral health, endocrinology, gastroenterology, primary care, pulmonology, and rheumatology services.
As Dr. Craig Serin, an internal medicine physician and WCMG’s senior medical director, told GOOD Morning Wilton on a tour of the practice, the aim is coordinated care.
“Wilton Primary & Specialty care was established to provide value to our patients and make it convenient to seek comprehensive care. Our primary care physicians, who counsel patients on prevention and wellness, will also work closely with our specialists to help effectively manage specific health conditions, including endocrine, rheumatological, musculoskeletal, and mental health disorders,” he says. He gives the example of an internist discussing mental health concerns with a patient during a yearly physical being able to introduce and refer a patient to a behavioral health specialist on-site, at the same visit.
In addition to Serin, other doctors who practice in the Wilton office include Dr. Claudia Gruss, gastroenterology; Dr. Alan Radin, geriatric and internal medicine; Dr. Ben Hur Aguilar, internal medicine; and Dr. Arthur D’Souza, gastroenterology and internal medicine.
Same day and walk-in patient appointments are also available. To schedule an appointment, call 203.762.3353.