Residents may notice change along Highway 84 across from Kroger in coming months, as the 1970 building that was home to Hinesville Professional Eye Care was demolished Thursday.
In its place, a new 8,000-square-foot, energy-efficient complex will be constructed, according to practice owner Dr. Joseph "Jody" Pittman. In the interim, the practice is operating out of a space in front of Coastal Manor Long Term Care in Ludowici.
"We were limited by space and wanted to bring it up to more modern standards," Pittman said, explaining the desire to build.
The new clinic will allow the practice to serve more patients concurrently and will have an expanded area for optics sales of regular frames and sunglasses.
"It’ll be something to see when we’re finished up. We’ll have very fashionable brands," he said.
When it opens in the new building, Professional Eye Care will have multiple new designer brands.
Pittman said he hopes the expanded optics offerings will reduce the need for customers to head to Savannah for their eyeglasses needs.
Once complete, Pittman’s clinic will fill about half of the brick structure, and another 4,200 square feet of rental space for other professional offices will be designed, with 40 parking spaces serving the area.
Four professional office condos from 1,050 square feet to 2,400 square feet will be available in the facility.
Pittman said several types of doctors have expressed interest in the space, but its use will not be limited to medical practices.
"This facility represents my commitment to our wonderful community," said Pittman, who assumed ownership from Dr. George Grant in 2003.
In furthering his commitment to the community, Pittman is working with locals to complete the project. P.C. Simonton & Associates civil engineers, Circle M Construction, Merill Levy Architects of Savannah, Dennis Waters Development Company and Palm Coast Utilities all have a hand in the work.
"As a local business owner, I take great satisfaction in keeping our jobs at home by using local contractors," he said. "Most are patients that have previously trusted my care, and now I have the opportunity to trust them."
Through the move, the practice will continue to serve most insurance companies and TRICARE.
Pittman, who spent six years on a submarine with the Navy’s Submarine Service, said he feels especially close to the military families and supportive community that he serves.
"I am extremely grateful to God, my wife, Anne, and our fantastic staff, our patients and referring physicians. Without each of them, none of this would be possible," he said.