Nip/Tuck for Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeons

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ScalpelNow, I've heard everything! The city of Beverly Hills actually wants to cut back office space for high-priced doctors, most notably cosmetic surgeons, because medical office buildings apparently do not generate the same amount of revenue for the city's coffers.

But fewer plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills?

Cosmetic surgeon Richard Ellenbogen tells the Los Angeles Business Journal that "they all want the cachet," referring to docs who want to set up shop in Beverly Hills. "A lower class of doctor is coming in to take advantage of the publicity that the Beverly Hills name can generate."

Another plastic surgeon and ear nose and throat specialist, David Alessi, asks the Journal, "How many fertility clinics and plastic surgeons does a community the size of Beverly Hills really need?"

Well, I guess that depends to some degree on the vanity of the residents who happen to flock there for the easy access to a nip-tucks and and Botox injections.

As I mentioned, the concern seems to be that medical office buildings tend to attract drug stores in their ground level retail spaces, and pharmacies just do not collect as much sales tax as other businesses; much of their income comes via insurance payments, says the paper. Then there is the concern of patients driving around looking for free street parking rather than costly parking garages. Either way, less money for the city.

One building already under construction in Beverly Hills may be stuck in the Twilight Zone after its developers failed to get the Beverly Hills City Council to go along with its plan to convert the property into a medical office tower.

My absolute favorite quote, maybe of all time (well, at least of the past week) belongs to Beverly Hills City Councilman John Mirisch who is quoted by the L.A. Business Journal as saying, "Our cachet in Beverly Hills is glamour. It's 'come to Beverly Hills and see a star,' not 'come to Beverly Hills and see a sick person."

Funny, that whole "glamour" thing: The last time I was in Beverly Hills, which is a short Rolls ride from where I happen to live (no, I don't own a Rolls--but lot's of people here do!), I almost stepped into a pile of something that I wouldn't exactly call "glamorous." Maybe the city should consider a ban on extra large pure-bred dogs rather than medical office space?

Not clear as yet how the city will go about cutting back medical office space--impose a cap or, perhaps, an outright moratorium on new medical buildings? But here's a statistic that may give you pause: Twenty percent of the office space in Beverly Hills is occupied by doctors or drug stores, four times more, says the Journal, than the much larger city of Los Angeles!

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time to Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has written about real estate related issues for several years.
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