The three major hospital systems in Columbia, South Carolina remained the focal point of the medical office market over the first six months of 2007, both in terms of hospital based medical office growth, and private practices clustering within proximity to the hospitals. Several new developments were under construction around hospital campuses as of mid-year 2007, including both private practice office buildings and hospital based medical office buildings (MOB). Three new buildings, which will house Palmetto Retina Center, Columbia Neurosurgical Associates and Columbia Cardiology Consultants, were under construction on Highway 378 near the Lexington Medical Center. These buildings total 33,451 square feet. Also under construction as of mid-year 2007 was a 32,000 square foot building, which will be occupied by Columbia Nephrology Associates, in the Park Central Medical Park adjacent to Palmetto Health Richland.
Over the past several years, historically low interest rates gave rise for private practices to construct their own office space, and while this trend continues, substantial job growth in the medical sector, coupled with increasing medical practices, has increased the demand for space in hospital based medical office buildings. As such, the total MOB inventory grew to 1,663,679 square feet at mid-year 2007 with the addition of Lexington Medical Park 2 in West Columbia. This building, which is scheduled to open in August 2007, is the first medical building in South Carolina to be designated as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building. It was constructed using energy efficient materials and more than 90% of the construction waste generated was recycled rather than being sent to a landfill.
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