Nearly five years ago, real estate developer Bruce Rendina died from a cancerous brain tumor, leaving his Jupiter real estate firm in the hands of his eldest son.
Richard M. Rendina already was working at the Rendina Cos. when he suddenly was catapulted into the job of running a leading developer of medical office buildings.
Together with brother Michael, the company’s chief operating officer, Rendina rose to the task. As the company’s new chairman and chief executive, he navigated the recession, turned some office assets into cash by selling them, built 20 buildings and struck several deals for new construction projects.
Then cancer struck Richard, too.
Rendina, 31, said he developed lymphoma from a drug he took to treat colitis. He spent most of this year battling the disease, and today he says the cancer is in remission.
The experience was eye-opening for a man whose business is building medical offices, and it prompted Rendina to think of health care in a new way.
“My wife has been trying to get me to do yoga for years,” Rendina said, “and it took me getting cancer to finally focus on my own body.”
Rendina said hospital companies and health care providers are starting to do the same.
No longer content to just treat people when they are sick, Rendina said companies increasingly are seeking to offer patients wellness services and alternative treatments.
Rendina said hospital companies are starting to embrace therapies outside of traditional medicine, and that’s good for patient care. It builds loyalty to a hospital, and it keeps people healthier. It’s also good for hospital companies, who derive a new source of income.
Rendina said he doesn’t think he would have beaten cancer without chemotherapy, but he believes yoga and acupuncture helped speed his recovery.
A prime example of this treatment combination is a center that Rendina is building for Akron General, the Akron General Health & Wellness Center in Green, Ohio. The 100,000-square-foot facility will have a 24-hour emergency department, diagnostic services and a full medical fitness program, including cardiovascular and weight training equipment, three pools and a jogging track.
“Akron General is a leader and way ahead of the curve in terms of preventive health care,” he said.
Rendina expects to see more of this trend in Palm Beach County, as hospitals look to build facilities near their patients. Expect more medical offices, testing centers and outpatient centers dotted throughout the area. Very often, preventive services will be a component of these new centers.
“A hospital will be going to the market share they want to serve. Is it Hobe Sound? Palm Beach Gardens? You’re going to see hospitals planting their flag in the back yard of their competition.”
Palm Beach County already is starting to see this, of course. Weston-based Cleveland Clinic has a growing presence at its medical and wellness offices at CityPlace Tower office building in West Palm Beach.
Tenet Florida, looking to forge a strong presence in northern Palm Beach County, recently announced an affiliation with The Scripps Research Institute to build a hospital in Palm Beach Gardens.
Even insurance companies are getting into the game of delivering health services to their customers. Last month, Blue Cross Blue Shield struck a deal to build a Florida Blue center in Boynton Beach. Florida Blue allows people to buy insurance and research providers, treatments and costs. People also can use the center’s other services, such as health screenings and yoga classes.
Rendina looks forward to more building in Palm Beach County, where Rendina Cos. recently built the new Jupiter headquarters for G4S Wackenhut.
Most of the Rendina Cos.’ recent jobs have been in other states, with major health care systems such as Community Health in Nashville; Universal Health in Pennsylvania; and Catholic Healthcare West in California.
More jobs are planned, too, in states such as New Jersey, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio and Illinois. Just last month, the company broke ground on a 50,000-square-foot medical office building in New Lenox, Ill., for Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center.
Just a few short years after Bruce Rendina’s death, the Rendina Cos. is busier than ever.
It’s in the hands of a young man not focused on sickness but on health – a mission for his company, and himself, too.