University of Florida Health is riding the crest of a national trend of bringing leading-edge health care services closer to the community by opening three specialty practices at The Oaks Mall.
UF Health The Oaks will feature ophthalmology, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) and audiology services provided by UF faculty in the 139,000-square-foot former Sears space at 6201 W. Newberry Road. The facility will also have an outpatient surgical center to support ophthalmology and otolaryngology procedures.
The mall is particularly attractive and exciting for several reasons, said Ed Jimenez, CEO of UF Health Shands: UF Health has many patients throughout the region, so finding an accessible location close to Interstate 75 was a priority. The otolaryngology and ophthalmology programs needed clinical space befitting of their national prominence. Also, the site can be renovated and opened in a relatively short time.
UF Health ophthalmology and otolaryngology services are relocating from the nearby UF Health Hampton Oaks and another site. Remodeling is expected to take about a year after Sears leaves the site later this year. The long-term lease agreement also includes 500 parking spaces adjacent to the facility.
Placing medical facilities in the mall will provide an experience that is unique in the Gainesville area, UF Health officials said. It has ample parking and easy accessibility for both local and out-of-town residents. Dining and shopping opportunities abound, giving relatives and caregivers many things to do while they wait for patients undergoing treatment.