Health centers quickly filling up space in Philly area malls
“But movement into malls is a new trend – one that no doubt will grow,” Brown said. “The big question is if we may start to see entire health-care campuses moving into struggling malls. This has not happened in large numbers yet, but we do see this as a likely trend ahead.”
by Suzette Parmley, Staff Writer
How about treating yourself to a shopping spree after getting good news at your annual physical?
That opportunity has arrived, as more mall spaces are being used as medical offices and health centers to resuscitate struggling suburban malls.
Examples in the Philadelphia area include Main Line Health Center at Exton Square Mall, Suburban Health Center at Plymouth Meeting Mall, and the Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health (CNNH) at Voorhees Town Center.
Retail and real estate experts say the trend is on the rise, especially among malls looking to fill space vacated by traditional retailers with new tenants to generate rental income and increase traffic.
Steve Downey, 47, a cancer survivor from West Chester, is used to getting his blood work done at Main Line Health Center at Exton Square Mall in Chester County every four months. Downey said he followed his physician when he and the center moved to the mall two years ago.
“It’s close to work,” said Downey, who works in health-care IT in Malvern. “It never really felt awkward since there is a separate entrance. You really don’t have to go through the mall.”
Garrick Brown, vice president for retail research of the Americas for Cushman & Wakefield, said the number of health-care providers – including urgent-care centers – using retail space was way up overall.
He cited Denver-based DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. – one of the country’s largest kidney-care companies – opening between 100 and 150 locations annually. Most are in quasi-retail or actual retail spaces inside community or neighborhood centers.