Nationwide Children's Hospital officials last week opened the Sharon Woods Primary Care Center in the former Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen, 1777 E. Dublin-Granville Road.
That's a scant three miles from the existing Northland Primary Care Center, 4060 Morse Centre Road.
But the arrival of the new does not mean phasing out the old, according to Libbey Hoang, director of planning and business development.
"We have found there to be a large need in that area," she said.
Northland has a "considerable amount of Medicaid patients," Hoang added, something in the neighborhood of 30,000 of them.
And in spite of the presence of the Northland Primary Care Center since 2006, many families in the area were turning to the Westerville Urgent Care Center for children's medical care.
"All of the primary care centers are established to be patient-centered medical homes ... where there are fewer primary care centers," Hoang said. "We are looking to fill a need.
"The goal is to provide that medical-centered patient home for those who don't have one."
The hospital's website states Nationwide Children's Hospital offers community-based physician services for children from birth to age 21, including regular physical exams; vision, hearing and general development checks; and immunizations against childhood diseases.
The Sharon Woods Primary Care Center is the 11th one in the Columbus area. The others are located in downtown, Eastland, Hilltop, Linden, Near East, Northland, Olentangy, South High, West Side and Whitehall.
Hospital executives began looking to add another center in the Northland area in 2012, Hoang said. After they settled on the former Mexican eatery, she said, most of 2013 involved renovating the building.
The Franklin County Auditor's Office website sets the value of the property at $920,000. The most recent transfer history indicates the Adams Real Estate Co. of Columbus purchased the site June 21, 2013, for $1.45 million.
"We think we will grow to somewhere between 11,000 and 13,000 visits in a year," Hoang said.
The new center opens with the equivalent of seven full-time employees.
"Obviously, that will continue to grow as the volume grows," Hoang said.
The hours of operation for the Sharon Woods Primary Care Center are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.