When Dr. Jonathan Frantz established his Southwest Florida eye care practice in 1994, he did so with just three employees.
Now, 28 years later, Frantz has 228 employees, including 16 surgeons. They work out of eight offices—three in Lee County, three in Collier and two in Charlotte. This includes the new, multi-million-dollar headquarters on the southwest corner of Interstate 75 and Alico Road.
Built at 9617 Gulf Research Lane by Stevens Construction at 60,000 square feet, the building has 10,000 square feet of space for lease on the second floor. Frantz’s offices comprise the rest of the second floor, and he has about 30,000 square feet of ground-floor space for his practice, including 44 exam lanes, a diagnostic center, retail, LASIK suite and a cosmetic treatment center.
The building also has Suncoast Surgery Center, with four operating rooms and four laser suites.
FEH Real Estate Holdings LLC, owned by Frantz, paid $3.3 million for the property in February 2021. Frantz did not want to divulge the building’s budget, but he acknowledged it was multiple millions. Just two of his laser machines, for example, cost $1 million.
Frantz already owned another parcel off I-75 and Daniels Parkway, but he liked the Alico corridor location better. The Daniels property is for sale.
“We really wanted a high visibility location,” Frantz said. “We recognized the interstate would make us more accessible to people coming from the south and also coming from the north. We just felt like this was kind of the center of Southwest Florida—Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties. We felt this was going to be more convenient for more patients.”
Frantz said he put about 10 months of planning into the facility before breaking ground.
“Part of our planning for this facility was we went around the country to look at various facilities to see what we thought was the best in class,” Frantz said. “We incorporated a lot of things that we learned from that and put it into this facility.”
In June of last year, Frantz sold his previous company headquarters at 12731 New Brittany Blvd. in south Fort Myers, just north of College Parkway. Sinai Holdings LLC, based in Miami, bought it for $5.7 million with new tenant doing outpatient heart testing. Frantz paid $681,700 for the building back in 2004.
Gary Tasman, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield of Southwest Florida, brokered the recent deal and applauded Frantz’s decision to move.
“He’s got more of a regional location now,” Tasman said. “I think he made a very smart, strategic decision here.”
Frantz stressed that unlike some of his regional competitors, his large-scale eye care practice remains owned by him and his business partners, and not by a private equity company.
“I want to emphasize something I think is really important in this day of corporate medicine,” he said. “This is physician owned, physician-led, multi-specialty practice. In other words, there are no corporate bean counters in here. There’s no private equity that’s in here. Us as physicians, we’re sitting down every day with our patients. We know what their concerns are. And we address those, because we are concerned about our patients.
“So many times, and I’m not trying to criticize, but how many times have we seen corporate medicine where they put profits in front of patients? Or they’re just not responsive to the needs of their patients because of massive bureaucracies.”