By LOIS KINDLE
Moffitt Cancer Center is coming to South Shore, and that’s good news for area cancer patients and their families. The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization is currently in the process of buying nine acres on the south side of East College Avenue (S.R. 674) and 27th Street South in Ruskin.
“In order to better serve our patients, Moffitt is focused on providing treatments closer to where they live,” said Dr. Patrick Hwu, president and CEO of Moffitt Cancer Center. “South Hillsborough is a growing area, and this site will be more convenient for patients coming from Bradenton, Sarasota and other areas south of Tampa.
“Estimates show that we’ll be able to serve 9,000 patients there by year four, which means that Moffitt will have a big impact in the area,” Hwu added. “As we continue to expand our network, we will increase our capacity to help more people.”
With more than 47,000 people expected to die of cancer in Florida this year, the goal is to make cancer care and treatment more accessible.
Moffitt is planning the new, 85,000-square-foot outpatient facility in Ruskin “to expand access to lifesaving screening and prevention, world-class care and novel clinical trials,” wrote Moffitt Public Relations Director Patty Kim in a recent press release. By year five, it’s expected to create 150 jobs.
Purchase of the land, which must be rezoned, is expected to be completed by November, and final approval is expected by year’s end.
Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2023 and be completed by late 2024.
The wide array of services to be offered will include:
• advanced imaging
• blood draws
• clinical lab services
• clinical trials
• medical oncology
• radiation oncology
• screening and diagnostics
This is not the first time Moffitt has addressed its goal of serving more patients closer to where they live.
Its 50,000-square-foot Moffitt at International Plaza, a full-service outpatient facility opened in 2011, providing cancer patients easy access to Tampa International Airport.
In 2021, the nonprofit added its 28,000-square-foot Moffitt at Wesley Chapel facility in Pasco County.
“Moffitt is also developing 775 acres in Pasco County, the largest expansion in the cancer center’s history,” Kim said. “The new life sciences innovation district will serve as a hub for research, digital innovation, education and patient care. The multiyear, multiphase project will include about 16 million square feet of research lab, light industrial and manufacturing, general office and clinical building space.
Moffitt continues to pursue opportunities to better serve patients in Pinellas County, she said.
Moffitt, the leading cancer hospital in the Southeast and Florida, is No. 11 on the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals for Cancer list and has been nationally ranked since 1999.
For more information on Moffitt Cancer Center’s locations, mission, research and more, visit www.moffitt.org or call 888-663-3488.