The ability to visualize the transformation of long-vacant space in a shopping center into a successful office location is not a unique skill. However, you definitely need creativity and a sense of practical possibilities.
It probably helps if you are an ophthalmologist because your core strength is visualizing successful procedures for specialized problems.
Solano Eye Specialists, managed by Dr. Bradley Sandler, is in the process of relocating and expanding its Fairfield services. Currently located at 1700 Pennsylvania Ave., the eye care provider is set to move to 1345 Gateway Blvd., a 4,000-square-foot freestanding building at the entrance to Gateway Plaza Shopping Center (home of Trader Joe’s and Ross Dress for Less).
The building once housed Countrywide Mortgage but has been vacant since the economic recession wreaked havoc on the real estate industry. Sandler was attracted by the visibility and potential convenience the Gateway Boulevard space offers for his patients. Although the space is much larger than he was originally seeking, Sandler’s creative side identified how the entire building could be put to productive reuse.
Sandler also worked with Workforce Investment Board of Solano County to help place unemployed local residents in the new facility. Through the “Put Solano Back to Work” program at the Workforce Investment Board, Solano Eye Specialists has provided on-the-job training to new employees.
As an example, the Workforce Investment Board provided a candidate with “volunteer” clerical experience to participate in on-the-job training as a bilingual medical receptionist. Solano Eye Specialists provided 12-weeks of on-the-job training, and received 50 percent reimbursement of all regular wages paid during the training period. The goal is for the candidate to successfully complete the training and transition into unsubsidized employment with an employer.
Economic Notes interviewed Sandler this week to learn more about his plans for Solano Eye Specialists.
Economic Notes: Tell us a little bit about Solano Eye Specialists. What special services do you offer?
Dr. Bradley Sandler: We are a leading eye care provider with locations in Fairfield and Vacaville, serving the greater Solano County area. We use state-of-the-art equipment and the latest in advanced technology to provide clients with the best results for improved vision. Our services include cataract and implant surgery, LASIK surgery, diabetic eye care, glaucoma, contact lenses and optical services with the latest in fashion eyewear. We also provide Boxtox injections, Latisse for eyelash growth, dry eye treatment and macular degeneration treatment.
EN: What new features and services are you planning for your new location?
Sandler: We have new state-of-the-art equipment for diagnostic screening and testing. We also have added exam rooms, a larger testing center and an optical shop with a wider choice of frames and styles for every budget. Wi-Fi is available along with a new array of patient education services.
EN: Could you tell us approximately how many employees you will have at this location and when you will open?
Sandler: Between the Fairfield and Vacaville locations, there are 15 dedicated and committed staff members to assure that your experience at Solano Eye Specialists is an exceptional one. We have been providing comprehensive eye care to patients ranging in age from neonatal care to geriatric patients for more than 25 years. The new Fairfield location is scheduled to open Nov. 4.
With the slow recovery in local commercial real estate along with the ongoing transformation of the retail marketplace, creative leasing of vacant retail space remains important. It is good to see that there are some businesses out there able to creatively visualize the reuse of vacant retail space in new ways.
Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. They can be contacted at 428-7461 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.