MISHAWAKA, IN – Space constraints and building limitations have precluded a much-needed expansion of the Dental Center’s offices in downtown Mishawaka.
So the business is moving.
The Dental Center is planning to relocate next month to the IronWorks building, where the build-out is nearing completion. The office is scheduled to open on or around July 22.
The business has leased about 3,100 square feet, or a little more than half of the formerly unoccupied second floor at IronWorks.
That is more than double the amount of space it currently occupies on the first floor of a registered historical building at 318 E. Third St.
“The historical value of the building obviously means we can’t do any changes to that facility, so we needed something larger,” said Bill Bembry, Midwest regional manager for Dental Care Alliance, the center’s Sarasota, Fla.-based parent company.
“We were concerned the only way we could find a space to accommodate what we need meant we were going to have to move out of the downtown area,” Bembry said. “But IronWorks gives businesses and companies like ours the chance to expand downtown.”
The relocation and expansion will allow the Dental Center to: add a second full-time dentist, double the number of patient chairs (it will now have eight), and accommodate more patients.
The new office will employ two full-time dentists (general practitioners), three full-time dental hygienists and one part-time hygienist. A pediatric dentist will continue to visit the Mishawaka dental center, Bembry said.
“Our schedules have filled to where we’ve had to turn business away if we can’t get patients in in a certain amount of time. But if you are J.C. Penny, you don’t want to send your business to Sears,” Bembry said.
The Dental Center has offices in South Bend, Granger, Mishawaka, Goshen, Plymouth, Warsaw, Niles and LaPorte. It also operates offices in Berrien and Cass counties in Michigan.
Hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The new office also will be open until 7 p.m. one day each week after the move; the schedule change has not yet been finalized.
This new tenant announcement is the second for the 17,000-square-foot IronWorks building; H.J. Umbaugh of Plymouth announced its plan to lease the entire third floor of the building. H.J. Umbaugh moved in last fall.
The construction of IronWorks was completed on the former Uniroyal property in 2008 as part of a mixed-use riverfront redevelopment project.
About 2,000 square feet of office space remains available for lease on the second floor of the building, and the restaurant space on the first floor also remains on the market.
The restaurant has been the hardest to lease despite its setting and outdoor patio fireplace, said Dennis Murphy, vice president of Prime Development Corp., which owns and is developing the IronWorks project.
“We have had some great restaurant concept proposals for our space,” Murphy said.
“But when they pull together their final business plan and financial investment needed, the existing restaurant spaces become more appealing to work with strictly because of the financial startup investment,” Murphy said.
The Dental Center will give the building a greater opportunity for foot traffic, which Murphy said could lure office and restaurant tenants to fill the place.
“I don’t really know of anybody that enjoys going to the dentist,” Murphy admitted. “But once you are in this office location and experience the view out the windows of the beautiful parks, riverwalk and the river itself, it will take your mind off the reason why you are there.”
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Founded in 1991, DCA is one of the largest multi-branded dental support organizations in the U.S. with more than 320 affiliated practices in 20 states. DCA-affiliated practices provide patients with a wide range of dental services including general dentistry, endodontics, oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, and periodontics. DCA provides dentists with clinical autonomy, career satisfaction, and growth opportunities by reducing day-to-day administrative responsibilities so they can focus on providing the best clinical care to each patient.
As a dentist that is actively engaged in entrepreneurship and leadership programs, I have seen many different businesses respond to this unprecedented crisis that we are all living through. DCA, thanks to its strong leadership, acted much more rapidly to COVID-19 than others and has continued to lead the way for affiliated offices more effectively than, in my opinion, any individual or group of dental practices.
Having a support center that is constantly evaluating the situation and guiding us how to respond and communicate to our teams has been key to navigating this crisis. I believe that, due to the immediate response and ongoing direction we are receiving from the support center, DCA offices will come out of this environment much stronger. From support on HR issues to working with clinical leadership to document the new PPE and infection control protocols that we will implement, the guidance from DCA has helped our office stay way ahead of the industry.
Additionally, knowing that the economic burdens that come with this type of event have been eased by DCA’s strong industry partnerships, breadth of knowledge and access to capital allow us to focus and respond as positively as possible to imminent situations, rather than react in ways that would not be beneficial for the long-term.