Construction has started on a new medical building in Coon Rapids.
Groundbreaking ceremonies took place Oct. 16 for the new home of North Suburban Eye Specialists, which has been located in Coon Rapids since it opened in 1977 – 35 years ago.
Dr. Alfred Steldt, who retired a few years ago, began North Suburban Eye Specialists at the Mercy Health Care Center in 1977 as a single practice, but was joined by Dr. James Cameron in 1980.
The practice moved to a new office built by Al Parent at Coon Rapids and Round Lake boulevards 10 years ago, but has run out of room as it has expanded.
The new 32,000 square-foot medical facility is right across the Coon Rapids Boulevard/Round Lake Boulevard intersection from its current office.
North Suburban Eye Specialists will occupy 22,000 square feet of the building with its investment partner United Properties will leasing out the remaining space.
Construction of the building, which is located on the property that formerly housed the McKay Lincoln Mercury auto dealership and then the McKay Collision and Service business, is scheduled to be completed in July 2013.
RJM Construction, a St. Louis Park-based firm, is the general contractor on the project.
“This is a very special day for us,” Cameron said at the groundbreaking.
The success of the practice has grown beyond his “wildest dreams,” according to Cameron.
He credited the success of North Suburban Eye Specialists to its staff, including three who had worked for the practice for more than 30 years – Delta Jorgensen, Diane Moody and Nicki Ehman.
“A practice is only as good as its staff,” Cameron said.
The staff has grown to more than 50 people – North Suburban Eye Specialists also has a Blaine office now – including three other specialists beside Cameron: Drs. Paul Johnson, David Fonken and Matt Johnson.
The focus at all times has been on providing the best care possible for patients and earning their trust, Cameron said.
“I am bursting with pride,” he said.
Cameron thanked the city of Coon Rapids for helping to make the project possible.
The city provided grant dollars from available tax increment financing money to pay the cost of getting the side ready for construction, specifically razing the existing buildings and tearing up the parking lot.
According to Dr. Paul Johnson, as the practice has grown, it has kept pace with technology, acquiring advanced eye care equipment.
In addition, it has expanded its optometry department and brought in new glaucoma and cataract specialists, Johnson said.
But North Suburban Eye Specialists remains patient care based, he said.
The new building is located at 3777 Coon Rapids Blvd., and North Suburban Eye Specialists will move from its 13,000 square-foot location on completion of the project.
Along with RJM Construction, North Suburban Eye Specialists and United Properties, the project team includes architect Sperides Reiners Architects, Inc. and consulting firm Schlottman & Associates.
RJM Construction and Sperides Reiners Architects began work with North Suburban Eye Specialists in April to collaborate on the plans, budget and project schedule.
The building will feature a barreled vault entryway and architectural materials such as metal panels, cultured stone and stucco.
The exterior of the building will be made of pre-cast limestone to complement other nearby medical buildings.
North Suburban Eye Specialists provides services in general ophthalmology, refractive surgery, cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery and eye-related disease treatments.
Besides its locations in Coon Rapids and Blaine, the practice has surgical privileges at hospitals in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.