Metro Wellness expanding St. Pete building after location purchase

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Petersburg, FL — Metro Wellness finalized the purchase of their St. Petersburg clinic and community center and now need the community’s help to make it the Tampa Bay hub for LGBT healthcare.

Metro Chief Executive Officer Lorraine Langlois spoke at an event held at the St. Pete clinic April 28 where she opened up about the legal battle Metro faced which led them to purchase the building.

“We have had a rough go-around for the last eight months,” Langlois told the crowd. “We have been in a legal battle for this building. The owner had sold it under us and then wanted us out in three days.”
Metro came out on top and closed on the building April 15.

“We started in our small room at King of Peace… who created us 26 years ago,” Langlois said.“We grew up and moved across the street and within 3 years we really needed to find new space. We are in that boat again.”

Metro purchased the building for nearly $3 million and will be putting another $3 million toward renovations and expansions.

“We collaborated with Community AIDS Network (CAN) down in Sarasota,” Langlois said.“We have the same synergy, so both entities created Metro CAN, LLC. and that is the company that bought the building. That ensured our future and their future in Tampa Bay.”

With such a quick turnaround from nearly having to vacate to being new building owners, Metro and CAN needed a large amount of money quickly.

“Lucky for us we had to turn banks away,” Langlois said. “We listened to six proposals and went with the best offer. In total we got a loan of about $5.2 million and we need to come up with the rest.”

Top priority renovations are a new roof, new windows and the addition of twelve air conditioning units. Another priority is doubling the clinic’s exam rooms, from eight to 16.

“With HIV and primary care, we are getting a hundred calls a week from potential new patients,” Langlois said. “For those who know me I am not someone who likes to wait and I am working on my patience, but we intend to change this building really quickly.”

Along with upgrading the existing space, Metro is looking into additional space for counseling, group therapy and LGBT youth spaces and an auditorium with stage for community events. Langolis hopes that Metro can be the crown jewel in a thriving LGBT area.

“We have gotten together with the other developers in this area and talked about what this area could look like and be,” Langlois said. “It’s going to be amazing.”

The purchase will allow Metro to use the building’s entire 47,000 square feet. Right now, they only use 18,000.

The remaining space is being considered for profit-making areas for Metro, such as affordable office space rentals to non-profits and other LGBT businesses; as well as possibly a spa, café and fitness center down the road.

“It gets back to me all the time,” Langlois said. “It isn’t a great place to look at, but they sure are friendly and care for you. That’s really what’s important, but now we will make it so that when patients visit, they can come into a nice place.”

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