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Commercial Real Estate

What Is the Future of Frisco Station’s Health and Wellness District?

It's about more than just putting a gym next to an apartment complex. Integration and programming are key.
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Frisco Station will soon be home to a health and wellness district, but what does that mean? The 242-acre development will include residential, office, and retail developments and will have 35 acres devoted to health and wellness.

A partnership between Rudman, Hillwood, Cambridge Holdings, and VanTrust Real Estate, the development already has delivered 650,000 square feet of office space, 955 units of multifamily housing, 450 hotel rooms, and six acres of a programmed park system since launching the project in 2015.

Residential and corporate residents are looking for more than just living and office space. In addition to other amenities, they want healthy employees and neighbors. Healthcare providers, parks, trails, and other preventative measures have become recruiting tools, says Robert Folzenlogen, senior vice president of strategic development at Hillwood Development Company.

In response, the development will feature parks activated with programming such as yoga and 5k runs. In addition, the development is looking to attract a healthcare anchor, which could include a hospital, urgent care, or surgery center.

Many major health systems already have hospitals in Frisco, including the Baylor Scott & White hospital across the street from the development near the Dallas North Tollway and Warren Parkway. “The goal would be to attract one of those big anchor users to move to Frisco Station or have specialty centers or other services that aren’t yet in an area,” Folzenlogen says. The community’s demographics, with high incomes and a large percentage of insured individuals, make for lucrative opportunities for healthcare providers. “With changing demographics, that may be oncology centers or additional sports medicine for young families.”

Frisco Station is part of a more significant healthcare trend to move away from the massive hospitals and toward community storefronts closer to the consumer and the community. COVID-19 has only accelerated that trend. “People, consumers, hospitals all want to be more approachable,” says Roman Bogoslavsky, chief investment officer at Cambridge Holdings. “We want to minimize the barriers between the indoors and the outdoors with a lot of connection points to the community and places that are not just places for healthcare where you treat sick people, but taking an approach of maintaining health. How do you improve health? How do you build healthier communities and do that in a way that is seamless and subtle?”

Cambridge Holdings has experience developing this sort of community. Bogoslavsky compared Frisco Station to a larger version of the company’s ONEC1TY development, which is a 20-acre mixed-use development near downtown Nashville and the region’s medical school. The area includes retail, restaurant, green space, apartments, and exercise facilities.

Bogoslavsky says the community’s healthcare offerings will include programming and physical developments, including health fairs and activating the green space. “We have had conversations with world-class healthcare regional and national providers that we would like to bring to Frisco station that can enhance the community.”

Those providers will be more than just brick and mortar facilities, Bogoslavsky emphasizes. They are looking for active community members that are just as focused on wellness as treating illness. The idea is that healthy food, wellness, and traditional healthcare are integrated via the space. But it isn’t a simple task. “Just by putting a gym next to an apartment complex, it does not make it a healthy community,” he says. “You have to own it to bring all the pieces together and make sure that it’s done smartly with the groups that are involved that are going to be integrating. And just an arbitrary gym or just an arbitrary restaurant, or an arbitrary healthcare provider is not going to do that. You have to manage it for a long time, even once it’s built. and that’s what we do.”

Approachability, integration, and innovation will be necessary to make sure Frisco Station isn’t just another mixed-use development that includes some health and wellness businesses. “The way of the future is working with the full spectrum of healthcare providers and focusing on health,” Bogoslavsky says. “It’s healthcare, access to cleaner air and water, access to fresh food, access to a sense of place and a sense of belonging that is active and vibrant and dynamic and allows healthcare providers to be a part of that, and doing that in a seamless, integrated, focused way.”

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