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Savio Converts Bulding Into Unique Medical Facility

homes0413_1In the early 1960s, Hawaii began experiencing a real estate “awakening” with the proliferation of high-rise apartment buildings and the introduction of the concept of condominium ownership.

Hawaii Realtor Mary Savio, who established her Tropic Shores Realty in the late 1950s, was a pioneer in condominium development and a member of the team that drafted Hawaii’s condominium law, one of the first in the nation and the model for other states. She was the first woman to be elected president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors and the Hawaii Association of Realtors. Her son, Peter Savio, was also a pioneer in the condominium marketplace, converting more than 10,000 apartments to condominiums over the past three decades.

Mary has been memorialized with the redevelopment of the former Newtown Square office building as the Mary Savio Medical Plaza, a condominium conversion undertaken by her son in 2012.

“We started organizing a group of 20 doctors interested in owning their own medical office space … many were leasing at various other locations,” he said. “I had an opportunity to buy the building and immediately offered it to the doctors, starting our journey as a condo conversion to create an innovative medical complex. The existing facility had fewer than 200 parking stalls in an open lot, so we built a six-story, 168,000-square-foot garage with a total of 424 spaces and the potential to add another 170 stalls for valet parking.

The new garage was completed at a cost of $19 million and will open this week.

“The common areas of the building are now being upgraded and renovated and new elevators are being installed. Most of the doctors, who opted to purchase, are renovating as they move in.

Our original investment group bought 20 of the offices, which was the only available space at the time. We have about 6,000 square feet of space still available for sale in the original building.

“We are now planning a new 30,000-square-foot medical office building on the ocean side of the property,” he added, “so the Mary Savio Medical Plaza will eventually be a total of about 100,000 square feet.”

Savio noted that the increasing number of medical practitioners purchasing their own offices are motivated both by changes in health care laws and new opportunities to better serve and care for their patients.

“The idea of this new facility is to be able to offer everything patients and doctors might need in one location,” he explained. “The completed complex will include a pharmacy, x-ray and imaging facility, rehab and medical education centers, and an ‘incubator’ for the training of young doctors just entering the field. An urgent care clinic is another important component, which will help patients with minor conditions avoid having to go to the hospital emergency rooms.

“The eventual mix of medical practitioners will represent as many different specialties as possible, with the goal of being able to refer patients to others as needed within the same facility. One of the advantages of this setup is that it facilitates communication among the doctors so they are always able to stay informed about the status of their patients.”

Savio said another unique feature of the complex will be a time-share component so doctors whose practices are in other parts of Hawaii will be able to avail themselves of the features of the new facility.

“The approach of the doctors to serving their patients reminds me of the way my mother conducted her real estate business … the goal was ensuring that the best interest of the client was always served,” Savio said. “However, it came as a surprise to me when the doctors suggested that the new complex be named the Mary Savio Medical Center. In view of the similarity of their philosophy of client service, I realized it would be appropriate. This has been such a successful and popular venture for us that we are considering undertaking similar projects statewide.”

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