Drexel Town Square adds medical services, competition to South Shore
Oak Creek mayor: Froedtert investment a win for region

By DAN MUCKELBAUER - Post Editor

Jan. 21, 2018

The Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Drexel Town Square Health Center in Oak Creek as seen Jan. 12, looking south from Drexel Avenue at Sixth Street.
Julia LeGath/Post Staff

OAK CREEK — Froedtert Medical Center, on the Milwaukee and Wauwatosa border, is making major inroads into the southern suburbs.

The new Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Drexel Town Square Health Center gave a sneak preview over the weekend with the official opening late this week at West Drexel Avenue and South Sixth Street. The health center adds to the mixed-use Drexel development, which offers retail shopping, restaurants and groceries, apartments, and city government services.

“It’s not a great win for just Oak Creek, but for the South Shore as well,” Mayor Dan Bukiewicz told the Post of Froedert’s investment. “It’s their furthest south facility in Milwaukee County.”

“It’s probably been one of Wisconsin’s most successful and finest examples of a brownfield development based on what the area is worth,” Bukiewicz said of the ongoing Drexel Town Square construction. “It’s now worth about $180 million and when it was a factory it was $30 million.”

Froedtert Health leases the building from HSA PrimeCare, the developer. The architect was Eppstein Uhen Architects and CG Schmidt was the general contractor.

“We are proud to be part of Oak Creek’s exciting new downtown,” Cathy Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, said in a news release.

A man receives a tour inside the Drexel Town Square Health Center.
Julia LeGath/Post Staff

Fourth new Froedtert clinic in last year

The 109,000-square-foot health center offers a variety of services, from primary care and urgent care to an outpatient surgery center and a cancer center.

Thirty-nine physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants will practice at the center, including specialists representing a dozen different care areas. In addition, occupational medicine and support services including laboratory, imaging and pharmacy will be available.

Drexel Town Square Health Center is the fourth new health center opened by the Froedtert & MCW health network in the past 12 months. The other three are in Brookfield, Mequon and Milwaukee. The Drexel Town Square site also adds to the health network’s growing presence south of Milwaukee, which was marked by an expanded affiliation last year with the former United Hospital System, now operating as Froedtert South.

“People tell us they want high quality care that’s convenient and fits their lives. Many of our patients already come from Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, Caledonia, Racine and beyond, and this location gives them a comprehensive, close-to-home option with the resources of the Froedtert & MCW academic medical center at their fingertips,” Jacobson said.

“It’s truly a very connected network,” Bukiewicz said, “Having an additional medical facility under a different umbrella only enhances health care choices for all of our residents.”

In addition to the spectrum of care, adding emergency services when minutes count can save lives, the mayor said. And until now, first-responders from Oak Creek, South Milwaukee and Franklin wouldn’t have traveled to the Froedtert main campus, a 20-, 25-minute drive away through the sometimes congested Zoo Interchange, Bukiewicz said.

St. Luke Hospital, now part of Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, has long been the dominant health care provider to residents on the South Side and surrounding suburbs, renowned for its heart treatment care based out of the 2900 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, facility. The system has 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics and 70 pharmacies, and has many facilities in northern Illinois. Froedtert has five hospitals, more than 1,600 physicians and nearly 40 health centers and clinics. Both draw patients from the Midwest and other parts of the nation.

The public received a sneak preview Saturday at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Drexel Town Square Health Center in Oak Creek.
Julia LeGath/Post Staff

Community needs

In its latest expansion, the Froedtert & MCW planning team studied the community’s needs before determining the appropriate services to offer, Jacobson said.

Primary and specialty care as well as cancer care were identified as significant shortages in the area, she said.

She noted that the design responds to the trend toward digital health care, and will be able to offer options such as virtual consults and e-visits.

The health center is expected to create about 145 new full- and part-time jobs in its first year, with additional job growth projected in subsequent years.

The new Froedtert location is also just north of the Racine County line, where growth is forecast with the development of the unprecedented Foxconn Technology Group project announced this summer that could employ 13,000 people.

“From Mount Pleasant it’s one more health care provider choice,” Bukiewicz said. “This is just another amenity that Oak Creek is providing for those who work in Caledonia and they can’t get down there.”