Worthington Spotlight

Blue Boat prepares to dock in Gateway site

Blue Boat Counseling LLC will be relocating to the second floor of Gateway Building 4 with an address at 105 W. Wilson Bridge Road.

The building will be the westernmost edifice in the development. The Worthington-based practice currently has offices at 5858 N. High St., south of Old Worthington.

The move to the Gateway location represents a step up in both space and visibility. “It’s a huge jump in space,” said owner and therapist Andy Sears, licensed professional clinical counselor.

“And finding us will be easier.”

Thomas Worthington High School graduates Andy and Carrie Sears are moving their Blue Boat Counseling offices into the new Worthington Gateway development. (Submitted photo)

Sears spearheaded the practice about five years ago with his wife, Carrie, who serves as executive director. Having spent about four years in solo practice out of a Clintonville location, Andy decided to open a group practice.

The couple lives in Worthington and are both Thomas Worthington High School graduates. After spending the early parts of their careers out of town, they reconnected in Cincinnati before moving back to Central Ohio.

The practice’s name is a nod to a childhood quirk. “Andy’s favorite color is blue,” said Carrie.

“When he was a little kid, he would wait for the blue boat, the blue car, at every ride,” she explained. “And that was just him being his true self.” That metaphor extended into a professional philosophy. “He helps people find their true selves.”

The pandemic’s impact on mental health has been fairly well-documented. Despite the generational trauma, Carrie Sears said she sees a silver lining.

“Not a lot of positives came out of COVID, but it has decreased the stigma about mental health,” she said. “People feel much more open to the idea they might need help and asking for it.”

Blue Boat expects to move this spring.

Matt Gregory, NAI Ohio Equities Senior Vice President, brokered the deal as representative for both the landlord and tenant. Although the arrangement is somewhat uncommon, Gregory’s local ties made it a logical move.

“Probably 90 percent of deals have [separate landlord and tenant] representatives,” he says. “I live in Worthington, so I know a lot of local business owners. We’re always trying to find a good match.”

Gregory says the remaining unleased office space within the Gateway complex is drawing a lot of interest. “We’re close to signing another medical tenant,” he says. The fifth and final building is in progress and should be hosting businesses by the summer of 2024. A local healthcare data analysis company has signed a letter of intent to occupy the fourth floor.

“There is plenty of demand but a lack of good matches,” Gregory says, citing the challenge that some firms have committing to a lease in a new building. “Some tenants don’t have time to wait for the longer buildout time, and some can’t commit to the longer 10- to 15-year lease.”

The Gateway space should be attractive for other medical practices, according to Gregory.

Worthington has a lack of Class-A and medical grade office space,” he said. In the meantime, Blue Boat Counseling has joined the list of tenants jumping into the water. “It’s nice that they were interested in making that commitment,” he said.

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