The developer of Mercy’s multispecialty clinic in Bolivar has a familiar name. But the recognition is in the technology field, not medical construction.
Businessman Doug Pitt has spent nearly 30 years building his Pitt Technology Group LLC into a nearly $6 million enterprise. The last four years, he’s also been working as Pitt Development Group LLC to build clinics for Mercy.
“All property Pitt Development Group does is medical office space,” Pitt said.
The side business from his information technology career is not completely foreign, however. Pitt said his family has 25 years of real estate development experience, led by his dad, Bill.
“We grew up building everything from residential to commercial among our family with retail and strip centers,” he said. “But in the last four years, I’ve concentrated on strictly medical.”
Pitt said his construction management firm has served as developer for six Mercy projects in Missouri and Kansas the past three years. A seventh, the $22 million multispecialty clinic in Bolivar, is scheduled for completion in October 2019. According to Mercy officials, Pitt Development Group owns the 3-acre property and the building underway. Pitt said the 53,000-square-foot job is about halfway done.
Pitt describes the medical connection to Mercy as organic.
His first job was to build the $6 million Mercy clinic in Ozark, during which conversations with health system development officials turned to a different way of designing and building the medical facilities.
“It’s one of those things that I’ll just call it divine intervention in the timing,” he said. “We’ve had a great relationship working with Mercy and their team. We’ve been able to work together and spent a lot of time streamlining how to develop these projects most efficiently.
“It’s been a very collaborative effort and I think they’ve shown a lot of leadership.”
Pitt’s family connection to Mercy extends to 2009, when he and his siblings made a $1 million donation for the Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center. Doug and his brother, actor Brad Pitt, as well as sister Julie Neal, named the facility after their mother.
“That was just a great opportunity to be associated with the health system here in Missouri, in Springfield, our backyard,” Doug Pitt said, noting it had no connection to future business opportunities.
Mercy spokeswoman Sonya Kullmann said the health system leans on Pitt Development Group to help make land purchase decisions and conduct site planning.
An exception in local projects was the recently opened Mercy Branson Multi-Specialty Clinic, in which Pitt said his company was not involved. The project’s development plan started in 2013, a year before Pitt Development Group was formed.
In southwest Missouri, Pitt Development Group has developed Mercy projects in Joplin, where Mercy Clinic Family Medicine opened in 2017. Mercy Clinic Family Medicine-Ozark was built in 2016, and the 13,600-square-foot building more than doubled the health system’s space in town.
The Bolivar project will take Mercy’s presence from a “small footprint to a very large footprint,” said Jenine Vincent, vice president of regional operations. Mercy opened a primary and convenient care clinic in 2017 – its first presence in Bolivar – with the plan to build a much larger facility a couple of years later.
If the project remains on schedule, Vincent expects construction to wrap up in Bolivar in August 2019, followed by about two months of interior preparations involving installation of furniture, fixtures and equipment.
When working with companies such as Pitt Development Group, Vincent said there is a standard design but unique aspects to each project. For example, Vincent said in Ozark a glass area in the entry features crosses – a spot she refers to as “the lantern.” Those touches are to ensure the ministry of Mercy will be represented in all its buildings, she said.
“We utilize our designers and architects that review the design of our buildings to ensure our buildings meet our branding code,” she said. “As far as the aesthetics, we want to ensure that we have a certain way, which we call our lantern, how patients enter our buildings and exit our buildings.”
Pitt said Mercy’s clinic plans are innovative in trying to streamline what the medical offices need to best serve patients.
“You don’t usually think of real estate in that way, when you’re just mounting a desk or moving a wall,” he said. “The focus is on patient care. How does it make it better? How does it make it worse? It becomes the driver on the way it’s built, as it should be.”
There’s a consistency to the facilities that require an attention to detail, down to the way a door swings, Pitt said. That process is addressed and replicated for each project, with Vincent noting the size of exam rooms, their proximity to the nurses’ stations and the size of waiting areas are all considered in the standard design.
“We have a standard gallery design that we utilize in our new buildings rather than have individual waiting spaces,” Vincent said. “Our patients wait in a larger space so they feel less confined.”
Although declining to disclose Pitt Development Group’s annual revenue, Pitt said the company is working on two more Mercy clinics in the St. Louis area set to begin construction in January. With the Bolivar job, he said the company’s plate is full.
“We’re not taking any new clients at this time,” he said.
First entering the Springfield market 15 years ago, Kum & Go LC’s local construction activity is hard to miss these days.
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