Dead Mall? Convert it to a Health Clinic

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April 27, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


End of the Mall

Nicholas Eckhart / Flickr

Sprawling suburban malls have fallen on hard times lately. But as Blake Farmer reports, the largely defunct complexes are serving a new function: healthcare. “What big-city health systems need most is something shopping malls have plenty of: space and parking. They offer convenience for patients and practitioners, as well as costing less than expanding an existing hospital campus.”

According to the article, “Nationwide, 32 enclosed malls house health care services in at least part of their footprint, according to a database kept by Ellen Dunham-Jones, a Georgia Tech urban design professor.” Many of these opened during the pandemic, writes Farmer, “but medicine’s reuse of retail space is more than pandemic opportunism, according to a November article in the Harvard Business Review. The three authors suggest the rise of telemedicine and continued push toward outpatient procedures will make malls increasingly attractive locations for health care.”

Meanwhile, “Mall locations remain desirable. Many are even more convenient to dense populations and interstates than when they were built nearly 50 years ago, before surrounding suburbs filled in.” And the demographics make sense, too: “These areas are no longer filled primarily with young families, who first flocked to the planned neighborhoods and shopping centers built in the 1970s.” Now, “The adults are still in the suburbs, but the kids have long since grown,’ Dunham-Jones said. And now those aging parents who remain are ‘pretty heavy-duty health care consumers.’”

Monday, April 25, 2022 in Fortune

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