First State Orthopaedics opens $10 million facility in Dover

Dr. Drew Brady cuts the ribbon at First State Orthopaedics in Dover on Thursday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — First State Orthopaedics officially unveiled its new 43,000-square-foot facility just outside downtown Dover at a ribbon cutting last Thursday.

The new facility, 9 months and 9 days in the making, helps fill out the Enterprise Plaza business park off Del. 15.

Several dozen staff members, well-wishers and delegates joined the medical group to celebrate the new facility.

“Completing a project like this continues to show that the city of Dover is moving in a positive direction and gaining ground in the healthcare industry,” said Dover Mayor Robin R. Christiansen. “As I’ve always said, when the city of Dover is moving dirt, we’re moving ahead.”

For David Blaeuer, executive administrator of First State Orthopaedics, the appreciation was mutual. He noted that Dover’s staff was instrumental in ensuring the multi-million dollar building project progressed smoothly.

“The city of Dover couldn’t have been more gracious and accepting of our plans within its boundaries and its staff was phenomenal in assisting us in making sure we had all the information we needed to make this a reality,” he said.

First State Orthopeedics executive director David V. Blaeuer speaks before the ribbon cutting in Dover on Thursday.

When scouting a site for the building, Dover seemed the natural candidate, added Mr. Blaeuer.

“Our analysis showed that the demand is here for us to make this a flagship office, and the fact that we grew slowly but surely over time with the three other offices literally across the street from each other, validated the need for this building,” he said.

The new building has 24 exam rooms and an MRI suite, noted Mr. Blaeuer. It also houses ATI Physical Therapy offices.

An additional 18,000 square feet of space remains to be filled, but Mr. Blaeuer said it’s currently under contract.

All told, the price tag on the building was around $7.6 million, not counting the interior build-out.

“That adds about an additional $3 million,” said Mr. Blaeuer.

Staff added

The opening of the building allowed First State Orthopaedics to consolidate three offices in Dover down to the single location. It also has provided extra space for the hiring of a new physician who will start in 2019.

“They’ll bring a staff of 6 or 7 more people as well and their team will be able to see another 50 to 70 patients per day,” said Mr. Blaeuer.

After recently merging with Orthopaedic Associates of Southern Delaware, First State Orthopaedics staff numbers statewide have grown significantly.

“We’re somewhere between 450 and 500 total staff members and 35 physicians statewide,” said Mr. Blaeuer.

Targeting growth

Though the exterior work on the Dover building is done, First State Orthopaedics isn’t planning on waiting to catch its breath. Mr. Blaeuer said the medical group is breaking ground on its next project in Lewes in about 45 days.

“The new building will be on Kings Highway and Gills Neck Road in Lewes — it’ll have a very similar footprint to the Dover building,” he said.

The Lewes location will be approximately 39,000 square feet and host about 30 exam rooms and an MRI suite. Going with the same builder — Lighthouse Construction, Inc. — the medical group is anticipating similar costs as well, with the exception of real estate.

“The real estate price in Lewes will likely be roughly double,” said Mr. Blaeuer. “You’re looking at about $900,000 for a little over 3 acres here in Dover and about $1.8 for something similar down there.”

The group expects the building phase of the next project to last about 10 months after they begin in late September.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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