Health and Medicine People and Community

New UHealth medical center to rise in North Miami

At a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, University of Miami officials and community leaders celebrated the start of construction for the University of Miami’s UHealth at SoLé Mia, a state-of-the-art medical facility that will expand health care services for North Miami, Aventura, and the surrounding area.
SoLe Mia medical center
A host of University of Miami, UHealth, local government, and business leaders participated in a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the University of Miami’s UHealth at SoLé Mia medical facility in North Miami.

Sporting white hardhats and handling gold-painted shovels, University of Miami President Julio Frenk and a host of University, UHealth, local government, and business leaders tossed spadefuls of orange-and-green sand onto the artificial turf, their symbolic effort marking the launch of construction for UHealth at SoLé Mia, the new world-class medical center in North Miami. 

The morning event was held under a bustling tent located on the vast construction site. In his remarks, Frenk recognized the many whose vision, expertise, and effort had led to the milestone day and the construction launch for “what will be the crown jewel for the University and in the community.” 

“Envisioning and then building a medical facility of this magnitude doesn’t happen by chance,” Frenk said. “It comes from a commitment to being a preeminent academic health system and from the people here today that are committed to excellence and improving access to health care.’’ 

When completed, UHealth at SoLé Mia will become UHealth’s largest ambulatory site and will provide top-notch medical care to patients in North Miami-Dade and South Broward counties. Construction of the 7-story, 363,000-square-foot medical center is projected for completion in 2025. 

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava was among the dignitaries who celebrated the project and its community-based design. Levine Cava noted that her previous professional experience made her “profoundly aware of the critical need for quality health care and for that care to be accessible to all.” 

“This visionary space, this gem in the making demonstrates a commitment to a community that is all about healthy lifestyle and one now anchored by a world-class health institution,” the mayor said.   

In his remarks, North Miami Mayor Phillipe Bien-Aimé remembered the groundbreaking ceremony 10 years ago for SoLé Mia, the 184-acre, mixed-use development in North Miami developed by the Soffer and LeFrak families. 

Bien-Aimé said the city has long hoped for a first-class medical center to serve its residents and that the ceremony a decade ago gave him hope that it would happen.

“Today we are thrilled and excited that now we have it—first class, best in class access to medical services—that our residents will have within 10 minutes of the homes,” the mayor said. “This elevates everything around us.” 

Richard LeFrak, CEO of LeFrak, said the day was especially satisfying for him and his family and discussed the proposed economic impact.   

“It is easy to plan a large-scale community such as SoLé Mia on paper, but then seeing that vision actually materialize into a place that people call home and enjoy being is personally hugely rewarding,” LeFrak said. “At completion, over 15,000 people will live or work here.” 

A number of facets of the master plan have already been completed, he noted, including the first 800 residential units. The opening of the medical center will coincide with the completion of a 30-story residential tower. 

“When UHealth’s medical center is complete, over $1.2B will have been invested in infrastructure and development at SoLé Mia, creating thousands of jobs along the way,” LeFrak said. 

Both mayors also cited the investment, jobs, and economic activity that the construction will generate for the area.

Dr. Dipen J. Parekh, chief operating officer of UHealth, invited Dr. Henri R. Ford, dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine, to join him at the podium. 

Parekh described the new facility as a health care destination focused on healing, wellness, and prevention, and detailed the wide range of high-quality care and treatments the new facility will provide that include specialists from the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only cancer center in South Florida to earn designation from the National Cancer Institute;; Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, the top-ranked eye hospital in the country; and the Desai Sethi Urology Institute; as well as physicians from UHealth’s nationally ranked neurology and neurosurgery programs. 

“UHealth at SoLé Mia will set the standard for top-flight health care in this community and patients will have access to specialties that are at the vanguard of medicine,” Parekh said. 

The medical establishment will be modeled after UHealth’s award-winning Lennar Foundation Medical Center located on the University of Miami Coral Gables Campus. Since it opened in December 2016, the Lennar center has been heralded as an innovative clinic for its ability to bring a positive patient experience by providing specialized care and treatment in a warm and inviting environment. 

University of Miami Board of Trustees members who attended the ceremony included board chair Laurie Silvers; Manny Kadre, vice chair; and trustees Richard Fain, George Feldenkreis, and H.T. Smith, all of whom were recognized for having been actively involved in the planning and envisioning for the state-of-the-art facility.