Luxury Apartments – For These Medical Workers, Housing Near Hospitals Is Just What the Doctor Ordered
For some working in the country’s hospital systems, a faster, easier trek to work is becoming critical. With job demands increasing, medical workers are choosing luxury homes that require less upkeep in neighborhoods that make it simpler to work odd hours or to spend weekends on call.
Real-estate agents say their physician clients are seeking better work-life balance, and to that end give priority to turnkey properties, proximity to work, and neighborhoods that offer walkability and a community feel.
“They want it to be easy to get door-to-door,” says Jade Luney, an agent with Compass in Houston, who often works with New York or California transplants.
The sheer size of the medical centers where they work means the doctors and their support staff are transforming cities, from the downtown to the suburbs. While some staffers are choosing high-end properties in urban neighborhoods, others are buying new-construction suburban homes that are bigger and more convenient to multiple campuses.
A Move to the City
The Ahmads’ midrise condo in Houston’s Museum District
The Mond, a 20-unit development in Houston’s Museum District, an area popular with employees of the nearby Texas Medical Center.
Brent Humphreys for The Wall Street Journal
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Houston’s Texas Medical Center, for example, has more than 106,000 employees and sees 10 million patients a year. It has helped build a community in the nearby Museum District, says Ms. Luney.
At The Mond, where 11 of the 20 units developed by the Oxberry Group have been sold by Douglas Elliman, Dr. Ahmad and other homeowners have access to private outside kitchens, an amenity that allows homeowners to stay in the middle of a city without missing their backyards, says Ms. Luney. Units cost from $995,000 to $3 million. Dr. Ahmad declined to disclose the purchase price of her home.
In St. Louis, the Central West End has become a popular spot for medical workers, says Lewis Thomas, a urologic oncologist at the Washington University School of Medicine, part of a larger medical campus. He relocated in 2020 after completing a fellowship at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Dr. Thomas can walk or ride his bike to campus, which covers 18 city blocks and has more than 25,000 employees.
“It feels like there’s a cohort of people who work [in the hospitals] who don’t want to be getting in their cars,” says Dr. Thomas.
In July, Dr. Thomas and his wife, Kathleen Donovan, bought a 1905 home for $845,000 next door to two other physicians. The five-bedroom, four-bath home is 4,400 square feet with vintage touches, including custom stained-glass windows, a claw-foot tub and original wood trim. “It’s a historic district and the house has that feel to it,” says Dr. Thomas, who has two children.
Amy Mittelstadt, a real-estate agent who specializes in the area, says many of her clients are young medical professionals arriving from pricier parts of the country. They are drawn to the Central West End because it is a walkable area with a city feel that has larger homes for young families needing more space, she says.
Historic homes in the neighborhood cost just under $1 million, she says. “When you’re coming from San Francisco or New York, these amazing old historic houses are a relative bargain,” says Ms. Mittelstadt, who worked with Dr. Thomas this summer.
In Rochester, Minn., where Mayo Clinic has continued to expand, there is a demand for new-construction homes from staffers, says local developer Mark Hanson. A popular destination is the city’s hilly southwest side, where he built the Scenic Oaks West subdivision—a 10-minute commute via the town’s back roads. “Most of our homes are built for clinic employees,” he says.
In 2018, Mr. Hanson started sales on Millie Meadows Estates, a new-construction, 30-lot subdivision built near Lilly Farms, a 220-acre subdivision with 61 multiacre lots that he opened in 2016.
Offerings for his latest development range from $900,000 to $2.4 million for new construction, and are some of the most expensive homes in the area. Physicians like its countryside feel without sacrificing proximity, he says.
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Michelle Smith, a pediatrician with the Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Fla., who also has a private practice, relocated from New York in 2015. She says finding a home that allowed her to commute between two offices took time. After owning a home nearly an hour from work, Dr. Smith and her husband, Edwin Smith, eventually settled on a property in the Long Lake Ranches subdivision in nearby Davie, which keeps her driving time to under 20 minutes in either direction.
“My doctor friends told me about it,” she says.
After a yearlong search, the couple bought the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home for $935,000—one day after it hit the market. Since moving in this past summer, they have been working on exterior renovations, including installing a basketball court, outdoor kitchen and a hot tub near the pool. “The mixture of rural living and a suburban lifestyle was a big draw for us,” she says.
A Louisiana New Build
Dr. Richard Roe bought waterfront property for a new four-bedroom home near the Lake Charles medical complex where he works
Anesthesiologist Richard Roe purchased waterfront land in 2017 and completed his four-bedroom, four-bathroom home in 2019.
Jacqueline Marque for The Wall Street Journal
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In Lake Charles, La., anesthesiologist Richard Roe IV purchased a waterfront lot seven minutes from work at the Lake Charles Memorial Health System. He built a four-bedroom, four-bath home and a one-bedroom guesthouse for about $2 million. The property, completed in 2019, features a pool overlooking the bayou, an outdoor kitchen and a wine cellar.
The home has antique pieces throughout. “I like collecting pieces of art, and wanted to make this place feel like it wasn’t just done overnight,” says Dr. Roe.
Interior designer Lance Thomas, who worked on Dr. Roe’s home and guesthouse, says he wanted to design a space that felt relaxed yet sophisticated. That meant balancing Dr. Roe’s request for clean, white spaces with darker, more masculine walls and reclaimed-wood beams. “You don’t want a space to feel sterile,” he says. “For a doctor that’s sort of the irony.”
Write to Alina Dizik at [email protected] Zoom.com