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Scott Nishimura
snishimura@bizpress.net

Cook Children’s has agreed to build a 12,000-square-foot medical and dental clinic in the Renaissance Square development in Southeast Fort Worth, an important addition to the long-underserved area’s healthcare offerings.

The planned $7 million facility, to be at the southeast corner of East Berry Street and Mitchell Boulevard, will be Cook’s sixth clinic, but the first to combine medical, dental and behavioral health, Larry Tubb, Sr., a Cook Children’s Health Care System vice president, said.

The goal: “Allowing families to access all of these (services) in one location and providing a more holistic approach to improving the health of children,” Tubb said.

The Morris Foundation of Fort Worth has made a “very generous gift” to build the clinic, Tubb said.

“Community support is vital to the success of programs and new projects,” the Cook Children’s Health Foundation said in a statement.

“The Morris Foundation has made the initial investment so that we are able to move forward with plans to construct the much-needed neighborhood clinic. The Morris Foundation has been a partner and champion for helping to provide access to medical clinics in neighborhoods where there is great need.”

Cook’s entry follows the developers’ aggressive push to secure the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth, which wants to consolidate its two Southeast branches into a newly built one in Renaissance.

The YMCA is nearing entering a contract to acquire a site in the Mason Heights side of Renaissance, said Hap Baggett, the Mason Heights developer who took the lead on developing Renaissance Square, which is anchored by a Walmart that opened last year.

Baggett has said the Y is a lynchpin that would persuade other health and well-being providers to take the risk on Southeast Fort Worth. Besides strong anchors, the ability to enter a new development is critical to these providers, Baggett has said.

“It just makes us a destination for other medical uses, which we badly need,” said Baggett, who likened Southeast Fort Worth to a “retail desert” before Renaissance recruited Walmart, which drew other national retailers. Baggett says the area is also a “medical desert” that forces residents to drive miles away to reach providers.

John Flint, executive vice president of Lockard Development, one of the partners in Renaissance Square LLC, which is selling the clinic site to Cook Children’s, said Cook will improve Southeast Fort Worth’s offering of various services related to the well-being of residents.

Those include after-school programs and job training. Renaissance has drawn a charter school, Uplift Academy, and the Y is expected to team with the Mitchell Boulevard Elementary School next to the development on various programs. ACH Family Services is in the historic Masonic Home, part of Renaissance.

“All of these are things Renaissance Square is seeking to enhance in Southeast Fort Worth and really start a renaissance,” Flint said. “The name is not an accident.”

Baggett launched the 200-acre Renaissance Square after buying the property at U.S. 287 and East Berry Street in 2005. His group subsequently sold the 67-acre retail piece to Lockard’s partnership. The entire development is commonly referred to as Renaissance Square.

Cook Children’s is under contract to buy a 1.3-acre site, Flint said.

Cook expects to purchase the site and break ground on the clinic before April 1, Tubb said. Cook expects completion of the $7 million facility and “first visit” by Sept 30, he said.
 

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