If you aren’t reading this while sick, your time is coming
Right now is the hectic time of year where everyone is busy completing the tasks that were put off due to the holidays. Factor in bad weather with running yourself ragged, and you have the horrible recipe for an illness.
Being that you are already busy working, running errands, and taking care of the family, who has time to sit in the waiting room of a doctor’s office? For those of you who answered “no one!” you are in luck.
While many of you may still be busy making trips to the mall in order to return or exchange holiday gifts, you will be happy to learn that you may be able to kill two birds with one stone.
Enter vacancies at malls
Groups of medical clinics are looking to take over empty spaces at the mall. These walk-in clinics will be great for shoppers who only have a small window of time to speak with a doctor.
Clinics include regional chains such as City Practice Group of New York and national chains such as Concentra; which is the largest urgent-care operation in the United States. In 2013 there were 9,400 walk-in clinics in the U.S., which was a 20 percent increase from 2009. Slightly over one-third of the clinics are located in shopping centers and strip malls.
Big win for mall landlords
Mall owners enjoy renting out spaces to clinics because they tend to pay higher rents (around $25/square foot) and they also have better credit. In addition, they usually sign longer-term leases. This statistics come from CEO of Kimco Realty, Dave Henry, who is a mall operator in New York. His company signed 40 medical clinic leases in 2014, which was a six-clinic increase from 2013.
The demand is high, the timing is right
Demand for these clinics are prompted by patients who may not have a go-to doctor and therefore have trouble making appointments. Clinics tend to be placed in shopping malls with high amounts of traffic and visibility. According to Scott Mason, who is the executive managing director of Cushman & Wakefield’s health-care group, placing these clinics in high-traffic malls is known as the Blockbuster strategy, because the closed locations often suit the needs of mall clinics.
Concentra operates 290 clinics in malls and shopping centers and offers patients vaccinations, routine physical exams, as well as more specialized treatment administered by board-certified doctors and registered nurses. Hospitals also run mall clinics in an effort to reduce the amount of emergency room traffic.
Obamacare means more foot traffic under this setup
According to board member of the Urgent Care Association and CEO of Premier Health Urgent Care, Steve Sellars, clinics see about four patients per hour in a 12 hour day. Also increasing the demand for more walk-in clinics is the 10 million people who have gained insurance under the Affordable Care Act. With cheaper monthly premiums replacing high deductibles for emergency room visits, the walk-in clinics will save patients a decent amount of money.
Private equity firms have placed $3 billion into this endeavor since 2010 due to the growing demand. However Kimco Reality says that growth is not yet outpacing demand and that there is a danger in building so many because each location may not be economically equal.