Orlando's Lake Nona Medical City: Real Estate Development That Should Get More Appreciation in the Media

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[author: Rosa Schechter]

With all the media focus on investors both foreign and domestic targeting Miami real estate development, not enough hats may be tipping toward what is happening over in Orlando, Florida and particularly in the Orlando area's Lake Nona community.

It's a big deal and not enough people are appreciating what is happening in this part of Central Florida.  That's too bad because it's not only good for the Central Florida economy, it's a noble effort that helps people all over the world both now and into the future.  Literally.

What is happening in Orlando's Lake Nona?

Lake Nona, for those involved in Florida real estate development, is home to Lake Nona's Medical City, which is becoming an internationally recognized biotech mecca for medical resources, both research and treatment, including:  

VA Medical Center - at a projected cost of $665 million, a new 1.2 million square foot medical center is being constructed at Lake Nona by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and will include a multispecialty outpatient clinic along with 134-inpatient beds, 120-community living center beds, a 60-bed domiciliary as well as the necessary administrative/ support services.  In January 2012, the construction milestone of completing the VA Med Ctr warehouse was met.  (Go here for future milestone updates.)

Nemours Children's Hospital - one of the few free-standing children's (pediatrics) hospitals being built in this country, scheduled to open this year. 

University of Central Florida Health Sciences Campus - Up and running in 2010, the medical school provides world-class facilities, including the Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library; a 5,300-square-foot Microscopy Lab; a premier Anatomy Lab; an 198,000 square-foot facility for biomedical researchers (the Burnett Biomedical Sciences building); and three Biosafety Level 3 laboratories.

MD Anderson Orlando Cancer Research Institute - a regional location for the world-wide respected cancer treatment hospital, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, this facility has been operating in the Orlando area since 2003.

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute - Home to two technology centers Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics and the Translational Research Institute as well as its Diabetes and Obesity Research Center, the internationally recognized Sanford-Burnham (formerly Burnham Institute), chose Orlando's Lake Nona area for the site of its east coast facilities and has been operating in Florida since 2009.

University of Florida Academic & Research CenterBreaking ground in October 2010, the University of Florida expansion into the Lake Nona medical community provides an 100,000 square-foot facility that beginning this year, will allow UF students the chance to work alongside some of the best scientists in the world in the neighboring facilities of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

These are the biggies of this growing biotech medical hub, but there are more that are being built and more that are being planned.  Consider this:

Recently, the Orlando Sentinel did provide coverage for last month's grand opening of the 54,000 square foot Florida HospitalSanford Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI),  designed by Flad Architects, which will be dedicated to the study of diabetes, obesity, and the metabolic origins of cardiovascular disease both from a laboratory environment as well as a coordinated hands-on patient treatment facility. 

With all the negative chatter about banks and foreclosure, casinos and gambling, state government lessening protections on environmental issues and more ... it's great to think about the good that is being done right now in Central Florida and how real estate investment and development is involved in these noble enterprises.

We should all be appreciating what is happening in Lake Nona right now.  It's a good, good thing.