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Sharon Meinster

Stony Brook Medicine’s new facility at Smith Haven Mall. Photo by Aidan Johnson
By Aidan Johnson

When a person plans a trip to the mall, they may imagine buying new clothes, browsing storefronts and eating at the food court. Now they can add a trip to the doctor’s office to their list.

Stony Brook Medicine has opened a new advanced specialty care facility at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove. The approximately 170,000-square-foot space, previously occupied by Sears, is now host to a plethora of specialties, offering a “one-stop shop” to patients.

Sharon Meinster, the assistant vice president of facilities planning and design, and Dr. Todd Griffin, vice president for clinical services and vice dean for clinical affairs at Stony Brook Medicine, explained how the new facility would be more accessible for patients than the offices at Technology Drive in Setauket.

The facility will open in multiple phases, likely to be completed by 2027. As their leases end at Technology Drive, the other practices will gradually make their way to Lake Grove. 

“What’s great here is that there’s much better public transportation to the mall,” Griffin said. “That was one of the things that we used to hate about tech parks because many of our patients were taking two or three buses to get there.”

The closest bus stop to Technology Drive is at Belle Meade Road, and if the practice was located farther down the park, it could be difficult for a patient to get there, especially in inclement weather such as heat waves or snowstorms.

There will also be an urgent care complex built in the automotive center at the Smith Haven Mall, which will have direct ambulance support to Stony Brook University Hospital.

Since the new location connects to the rest of the mall, the idea of a buzzer system, similar to those found in restaurants, was considered, allowing patients to walk around the mall while they wait, though Griffin does hope to cut down the wait times.

The phase one services, which are currently open and occupy 60,000 out of the 170,000 square feet, include family and preventive medicine, primary and specialty care, pediatrics, diabetes education, genetic counseling, neurology, neuropsychology and pain management.

The facility will help to foster collaboration between the different doctors since they will all be under one roof.

“It’s nice to have sort of the neuro institute people together,” Griffin said, adding, “You have the surgeons and the docs all in the same space, which helps with collaboration.”

“Right now, they’re in two different locations. So when they move here, they’ll be all together,” he added, “and it’s the same thing with our comprehensive pain center.”

Stony Brook Medicine will also continue to build its Commack location, which has been open since 2017. That building sits at around 350,000 square feet and houses around 38 specialties. They aim to open a surgical center as well as an advanced urgent care center by early 2025.

Despite not having many windows, the Lake Grove facility’s lighting and paint job help to create a more welcoming atmosphere. With much more to come from the Stony Brook care facility, it is already offering a fast and easy way for locals to see their doctor and then grab a pretzel on the way out.