The Reserve at NEA to Provide Recreation and Solace
By BECKY GILLETTE
Haag Brown partnering with NEA Baptist for lifestyle medical development in Jonesboro
JONESBORO - A new outdoor campus and medical park under development by Haag Brown Commercial Real Estate for lease to NEA Baptist Health System allows the hospital to expand, providing more clinical space while retaining green space for outdoor enjoyment and exercise.
"We are very thankful for our partnership with Haag Brown," said NEA Baptist Chief Operating Officer Melanie Edens. "The lease option has allowed us continued growth without a large capital outlay. We are especially excited about The Reserve at NEA since it is adjacent to our main medical campus. This will allow our physicians close proximity to see patients in the hospital when needed. The green space and water feature will serve as a recreational area for all to enjoy."
Edens said spending more time outdoors makes people feel better emotionally, and can also reduce blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension.
"We are hopeful that The Reserve will serve as a medical community promoting outdoor activities, health and wellness," Edens said.
Haag Brown was also involved in the first lifestyle office park in the area, the Reserve at Hill Park.
"When we outgrew our current office space, I approached my partner, Greg Haag, about considering a new office," said Joshua Brown, Principal Broker. "Greg said he didn't have an interest in doing a new office unless it would be a great location where you could only could see trees and water outside the office. We drove a block from our office to look at some beautiful land in the middle of Jonesboro."
That quickly led to discussing the big plan. What about winter? Are there models of this in other parts of the country? There are models such as the headquarters for some of the largest companies in the world.
What appealed to Haag, Brown and others they work with is that they like nature and they enjoy outdoor exercise such as walking, running and biking. They created a one-mile walking trail through 20 acres of wood kept as green space and built a three-acre pond behind their offices.
"Nearly every day someone is fishing out in our pond or taking kids or grandkids out there," Brown said. "When we have meetings in our office, visitors talk about how much they like the atmosphere. We love hosting meetings in our present setting."
About half the portfolio the firm manages is medical development. They build, develop and lease medical offices, and represent medical companies thinking of expanding into Arkansas.
Land in medical corridors is often very expensive. But it doesn't have to bust the bank to do this type of project if it is properly conceived and developed.
"The only way you can do a project like this is to purchase land at a price that allows preservation of a lot of the land," Brown said. "Two, you are also spending a lot more than in a typical budget to allow for landscaping and sidewalks. We were fortunate in both instances. We followed the model of the development of our current reserve. We purchased the land locating our office on the back of the property, leaving the front with high traffic and visibility for other developments. We are following the same model at The Reserve at NEA, working from the back of the land to make the front more valuable."
Design considerations were made to make the green space appealing at all times of the year. The Reserve at NEA includes a pavilion with water on both sides of it. Even when it is raining, hot or cold, people are likely to use the pavilion for picnics, taking calls or just relaxing.
Most offices will have views of the outdoor spaces.
"In general, this type of environment lightens the mood of most people," Brown said. "People are more productive, creative, and are able to think more clearly. We love having geese, ducks and wildlife around our office. Everyone who visits our office has some level of interest in what we have done and how we have done it. We enjoy being here and our clients enjoy coming here. We try to design our buildings so you never have to flip the light switch. We have plenty of natural light."
Brown said you could see the excitement of employees at the ground-breaking ceremonies for The Reserve at NEA. And it is expected that this outdoor space will be particularly welcome for people who may drive a long way visiting loved ones for an extended period of time.
"It will be great after visiting a sick loved one to take a walk outside in a beautiful, natural setting rather than sitting in a waiting room," Brown said.
The discussion with NEA Baptist began because there were several specialty groups that wanted to join the integrated healthcare system. A pediatrician's group, a pain management group and a dermatology group had interest in locating on the campus, but there was not room.
"The project has moved a lot faster than expected," Brown said. "We are already under construction. The street has been laid. The pediatrician and dermatology buildings are being framed. The pain management project will follow shortly. These buildings should be finished by the end of the year with employees ready to work."
He sees the potential for similar projects elsewhere in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
"Greg and I want to duplicate this natural working environment in multiple cities," Brown said. "One thing we have heard throughout the pandemic is natural sunlight is good, may be preventive against acquiring the virus and may have health benefit if you do contract the virus. Health providers agree everyone should spend some time outside. Walking, getting some activity, and spending time in the sunlight is a very good medical recipe for overall better health. People were not meant to be inside away from the sun all day."
Landscape design including the renderings accompanying this article were by Martin Smith, Principal of EDG (https://www.ecologicaldg.com).
NEA Baptist Health System includes the NEA Baptist Clinic, the 228-bed NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, and NEA Baptist Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care.