When two urologists purchased the house next door to their practice, they had grand plans to turn it into a purpose-built medical centre.
To build and run a contemporary medical centre, servicing the people of Palmyra, Western Australia, was the fulfilment of a long-time dream for urologists and business partners, Dr Melvyn Kuan and Dr David Sofield. Ten years ago, they first shared rooms in a spacious 1950s house which had been refurbished into a medical practice. While this type of set-up is common across Australia, the urologists eventually had an opportunity they couldn’t resist.
“The house next door came up for auction,” says Dr Kuan. “Our street already had a few medical practices and we thought it was likely that someone would buy it, develop it and build a big imposing medical practice.”
“So, we put together a plan to build our own medical centre and made an offer before the house went to auction,” says Dr Sofield. “It was a great moment when our offer was accepted.”
While the fairly compact house they purchased was built in the 1930s, it sat on 900 square metres of land so it made sense to redevelop on a large scale. Dr Kuan and Dr Sofield had a vision to knock down the house and build a medical centre with rooms beyond what they needed. That meant there was a fairly large investment to be financed.
“BOQ Specialist facilitated everything,” says Dr Kuan. “Our BOQ Specialist consultant, Karyn Bailey, was knowledgeable, helpful and of great assistance. The financial side of things went smoothly and there were no major problems. But we had a few other difficulties along the way.”
The house and land were purchased in 2010 and the two specialists began organising architects, interior planners, designers and builders. Development applications (DAs) were submitted to council. Everything was proceeding on schedule until it all started falling to pieces.
“We had a few false starts because some of our builders weren’t doing the right thing,” says Dr Sofield. “Some of them went out of business—thankfully it was before they started on our building.”
The original architect’s plans were organised by the builder who went bust but Dr Kuan and Dr Sofield liked the design so much, they bought them off that builder.
“We also had to change the building plans a couple of times,” says Dr Kuan. “Eventually, we received DA approval for an amended design.” Eight years later, building work finally commenced. With everything in place, 4 Antony Healthcare was completed in 12 months and opened its doors in January 2019.
Under one roof
In a street with a number of medical practices, the new building stands out for all the right reasons. The structure is modern and sleek with clean lines.
As well as their own purpose-built urology rooms, 4 Antony Healthcare houses a variety of other medical professionals. Self-contained suites are used by medical specialists that include a physiotherapist, a psychologist, a sexual health specialist, a nephrologist and a general surgeon. There’s also a blood collection centre and rooms available to medical professionals on a short-term basis.
“Some specialists mainly work in the public system but also want to do a bit of private work,” says Dr Kuan. “It’s pretty expensive to have an office sitting around empty for three or four days a week. So they can rent from us for a day or two whenever they need office space.”
At present, their original practice next door is being leased out but they have plans for that too. “It’s also sitting on a substantial block of land so it would be great to develop another building as an adjunct to our medical centre,” says Dr Sofield.
“When we eventually go ahead, we will definitely organise all of the finances through BOQ Specialist again.”
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