Doctor hoping for correct Rx for downtown Aurora development
By Denise Crosby firstname.lastname@example.org December 17, 2011 8:48PM
Dr. Mollohan is a successful Naperville doctor (GP) and Aurora resident who purchased more than 30,000 feet of building in downtown Aurora on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 19, 2012 10:37AM
It was a little more than two months ago when William Mollohan woke up that Sunday morning and announced to his fiancee: “We are going to own a city block.”
It’s not like he’d had some sort of dream or had been obsessing about becoming a real estate mogul. But later that day, while purchasing a cheap pair of reading glasses at The Dollar Store, the Naperville doctor who lives in Aurora picked up a Beacon-News and read that a huge chunk of his hometown’s downtown was going on the auction block.
And so, three days after declaring his intent — seriously, he insists it came out of the clear blue October sky — Dr. Mollohan became the owner of 28,000 square feet of Downer Place.
Ask him what he plans to do with it, and he’s off and running. And when Mollohan gets going, it’s hard for him to put on the brakes.
That’s because the 53-year general practitioner has dozens of ideas, plans and formulas whirling around in his head: new ones, old ones, those partially formed and those so ingrained they are part of his soon to be released book, “The Lost 7 Secrets; One Medical Doctor’s Journey to Innocence, Inner Peace and Inner Purpose.”
The title should give you an idea of what his end goal is about. As he reveals his plans for this huge chuck of commercial real estate, it becomes quickly apparent the good doctor is a fascinating mix of Bill Gates, Stephen Covey (author of “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”) and Rick Warren (author of “The Purpose Driven Life”) all rolled into one caffeine-induced fireball of nonstop energy.
These past couple months, he and Pamela Meiser (his betrothed, business partner and co-author of his book) have been busy renovating a portion of their newly acquired property — 44 W. Downer — with plans for an open house Dec. 27 to kick off the primary care medical clinic that will be housed there.
By mid-February, he plans to have a walk-in clinic up and going; and in March, a full “mega” clinic that will include on-site student internships.
Of course, that leaves a whole lot of space yet to fill.
And that’s where his grand ideas come in to play. As do yours.
Mollohan wants input from the people of Aurora as to what they would like to see in the buildings at 40-46 Downer. Beauty spa? Fitness center? Wine bar? Night club? Small movie theater? What will bring folks downtown and keep them coming back?
His game plan all boils down to bringing people together to create jobs and revitalizing a community. And Mollohan is putting his money where his mouth is. He’s even hired homeless people walking in off the street — including 30-something Anthony, who announced his mission with the same determination as the doctor that Sunday in October.
“My goal,” the young man told Mollohan, “is to learn everything.”
And he’s proving to be a real gem, notes both Mollohan and Meiser.
Of course, despite these altruistic ideals, it comes down to smart business. In addition to 25 years in internal medicine and emergency rooms — Mollohan also had practices in Elgin and Sandwich — he and Meiser own a business management consulting firm. And both are well aware that when it comes to turning visions into reality, it’s imperative to invest in those who also have talent and work ethic.
Which is what the couple want to accomplish in this new Towne Centre Development Inc. They want small business owners not only committed to making money and providing jobs, but who believe people working together can accomplish so much more. There’s something “to be said for the barter/sweat equity,” insists Mollohan. “We help people get started; and when they make it, they turn around and help others.”
The City of Aurora has been meeting with Mollohan every other week since the property was purchased and is now working with the doctor to find additional storefront and upper-floor tenants, according to spokesman Dan Ferrelli. In addition, the staff also is discussing with Mollohan some exterior improvements that will complement the existing streetscape.
“Filling a vacant building and increasing foot traffic downtown are always a city priority,” Ferrelli said,
Mollohan, who graduated from East Aurora High School, the University of Illinois and Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, eventually returned to his hometown because he believes in family and community. He was a man with many ideas, but also many demons, as he writes candidly in his book. A workaholic with an addictive personality who gambled too much and ruined too many relationships, it took him a lifetime, he admits, to achieve the inner peace and purpose he now wants to share with others.
“It’s all about sharing it forward,” he says, also referring to his soon-to-be nonprofit, I Share It Forward. “I tell my students, it’s more than the golden rule: It’s the golden golden rule. Treat others so well, they will want to treat you that great in return.”