Plans are cooking for medical offices at former Bowie restaurant site -- Gazette.Net







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A new multi-million dollar medical office building is in the works for Bowie.

Orthodontic Associates, a Catonsville-based medical firm with eight locations across the state, is looking to take a bite out of the Bowie market by converting an old restaurant into a new medical suite.

“We’re excited at this point,” said T.J. Ross, director of operations with Orthodontics Associates.

The firm purchased the location of the former Tia Tex-Mex restaurant, 16461 Excalibur Road. The restaurant, which was owned by the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain, folded and the building has remained vacant since 2006, said Paul Santone, an assistant manager at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant that is a neighbor to the old Tia site.

Plans call for redeveloping the site into a two-story, 15,000-square-foot facility that would have a mixture of offices for orthodontists and dentists, as well as general office space, said Bill Steffey, a vice president with Oxford Chase, who is working as a broker in the development process.

Dr. Jeffrey Miller, co-founder of Orthodontic Associates, purchased the 1.5 acre property from the Ruby Tuesday chain for about $775,000 in March 2011, according to property records.

Remaking the site into a facility that would be a roughly even split between medical office space and general office space would cost about $2.5 million and employ about 50 people, Steffey said.

Expanding into Bowie was motivated by a variety of factors, Steffey said.

“There’s high income [and] there’s a lot of medical and office use in the area,” he said.

Across Prince George’s County, there is a need for increased dental care, according to a study released in July by the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health.

The study found that in the county there is a need for about 31 more dentists to allow for a healthy ratio of about one dentist per 3,000 residents. There are about 470 dentists spread across the county according to the study. In a sliver of the county that includes Bowie’s ZIP code of 20716, as well as other neighboring ZIP codes such as 20774 and 20715, the researchers found about 151 dentists — a number that should meet residents’ needs, according to the study.

The study did not cover the state of the county’s population of orthodontists.

Redeveloping the site would be a boon for the nearby shopping center, which includes a Ruby Tuesday and a Wal-Mart, said Kelly Pierce, executive director of the Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce.

“It would be wonderful to have something in that vacant space,” she said. “A mixed-use [facility] in that little pocket would be better than it is.”

Going forward, the developer will be meeting with the city of Bowie’s planning advisory board on Sept. 25. After that meeting, the advisory board will make a recommendation of whether to support the new use of the site to the City Council.

The council is scheduled to take up the matter in its Oct. 1 session, said Joe Meinert, director of planning for the city of Bowie.

“There will probably be a focus on the architecture and the look,” he said.