Spa-like health clinic to open in former Lululemon location
A new health and aesthetics clinic opening in East Memphis demonstrates both a trend in health care and in retail centers.
Not long after yoga-inspired athletic apparel company Lululemon Athletica moved out of the Regalia shopping center at Poplar Avenue and Ridgeway Road and into Saddle Creek in Germantown, landlord Boyle Investment Co. decided to take the retail bay in another direction.
“More and more people aren’t buying clothes in the mall anymore,” said Dr. Phillip Zeni, a board certified vascular and interventional physician. “They’re buying them online, so Boyle needs more leasees who have a reason to be in a brick-and-mortar location like us, where we have to see the patient.”
Zeni is opening Zenith Health and Aesthetics, a spa-like interventional radiology clinic, in the former Lululemon space on Friday.
He’s spent approximately $1 million to transform the 3,000-square-foot store into a clinic with three exam rooms, two ultrasound rooms, one main lead-lined procedure room and two recovery bays.
“While service is huge for the future of retail, it has to create some kind of experiential component for growth and success,” said Jonathan Aur, the commercial real estate broker who represented Boyle in the lease. “(Zeni) did it right partnering up with Farmhouse and Graham Reese to not only create a medical service, but somewhere that truly compliments the other retailers.”
To turn the former retail space into a clinic with a spa-like setting, Zeni hired interior designer Graham Reese and general contractor Grinder, Taber, & Grinder to complete the approximately $1 million renovation. Farmhouse created the branding for the business.
Zeni knew he wanted to be close to the intersection of Poplar and Ridgeway, the third busiest intersection by traffic count in Tennessee — the other two are in Nashville — and within the triangle of three major hospitals, Saint Francis-Memphis, Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown and Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis.
“This financial district is now, I think, the center of the city,” Zeni said. “It’s where the hub of the city is.”
Zeni oversaw several outpatient clinic and physician office renovations over his more than 15-year tenure at Baptist Memorial Health Care, most recently as director of interventional radiology.
After nearly 20 years working in a hospital setting, Zeni wanted the freedom and flexibility that comes with opening his own private outpatient center.
“Dealing with the hospital can be difficult in terms of caring for the patient,” Zeni said. “I wanted to do something different where I can control the care. I really pride myself in taking care of the patient.”
While most radiologists read films, Zeni uses X-ray and ultrasound imaging to guide him during procedures such as treatment for varicose veins.
The traditional treatment for varicose veins was surgical removal that required hospitalization, but technology over the past few decades has enabled physicians to block the vein off in place using a laser, turning a major procedure into a minimally invasive one.
“As we use these microtools more and more, people don’t really need hospitals like they did in the past,” Zeni said. “As the tools and the incisions get smaller, people can go home and recover in their own bed.”Zeni’s wife, Victoria Lim, is an ear, nose and throat specialist at Shea Ear Clinic across the street, one of the first ambulatory surgery centers in the U.S.
“They were trying to get rid of the hospital 30 years ago, and it’s worked well for them,” Zeni said.
Outpatient centers also enable patients to avoid paying a hospital fee.
Over the years, health insurance companies have increased the number of codes and payments for procedures performed at outpatient centers as a cost savings that avoids the hospital fee.
Blockage of the arteries, or arterial disease, will be another outpatient focus for Zenith Health through the use of balloons and stents.
While many of the vascular procedures will be covered by insurance, the clinic will also offer elective cosmetic procedures such as spider vein removal, CoolSculpting, Botox and fillers that will not be covered by insurance.
All cosmetic procedures will be supervised by physicians, which sets Zenith Health apart from other clinics that have aestheticians overseen by an off-site physician, Zeni said.
Dr. Chris Hall, a board-certified plastic surgeon, is the cosmetic consultant. Plastic surgery procedures such as facelifts could be offered as a future service.
With foot traffic from the shopping center, the clinic will also carry medical-grade skin care line Obagi.
Zenith Health will open Friday with four full-time employees, a nurse, sonographer, X-ray technician and medical assistant. A ribbon-cutting and opening reception will be held from 4-6 p.m.