To fill empty retail space, landlords hire doctors and dentists

For landlords impacted by store closures during the pandemic, well-funded healthcare providers, who tend to sign long-term leases, are suddenly desirable.

“As the landlord thinks about what will happen if we go through a crisis again, he wants things that won’t close – grocery stores, pharmacies and medical facilities,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Ms Scardina.

Some of these dynamics are playing out in suburban malls, where healthcare providers move into spaces vacated when retailers have consolidated or gone out of business. Suppliers find malls attractive because they are familiar to residents, easy to get to, and have ample parking. Another plus is the open floor plates of the old big box stores.

At the start of 2020, nearly seven in 10 adults in the United States visited a health care provider in a mall, enclosed mall or strip mall, according to a survey by ICSC, a trade group representing the owners of these properties.

Thirty-two enclosed malls across the country have healthcare providers occupying substantial square footage or, in some cases, the entire property, said Ellen Dunham-Jones, a professor at Georgia Tech who has followed the modernization of shopping centers in difficulty. Some of the providers are expanding academic medical systems.

The University of Rochester in upstate New York is creating a $227 million, 350,000 square foot outpatient orthopedic facility at Marketplace Mall in Henrietta, four miles from the University campus. ‘university. The property, built in 1982, once had four anchor tenants, but one of them, a Sears store, closed in 2019. The overall vacancy rate had risen to 30% before the project began, said said Jonathan L. Dower, vice president of leasing. for Wilmorite, the owner of the mall.