October 5, 2017
The retail industry is adjusting to shifts in the way consumers discover and purchase goods. Savvy mall owners are redeploying unused space that once housed shuttered anchor retailers in new ways, as well as reimaging the shopping environment in an effort to breathe new life into their assets.
The mall isn’t just a place to buy things anymore. In fact, it is becoming a destination for an all-inclusive experience where food and drinks or entertainment offerings may hold center stage. Increasingly, retail environments are incorporating a wider range of uses too, including residential, hotel, or office space, as well as services.
One such example is One Hundred Oaks Mall, a nearly 900,000-square-foot center in Nashville where Vanderbilt University Medical Center occupies about half of what once was a struggling mall. Vanderbilt moved more than 20 of its clinics to the shopping center at a fraction of the cost required to build out its campus. The center houses wellness-oriented clinics such as dermatology, OB-GYN, preventive cardiology and imaging centers, a breast center and physical therapy.
The set-up works because it brings services closer to where patients need them, and the former retail space was redesigned with patient access, usability and new technology at the forefront. Now, patients can walk through a central corridor lined with physician offices and team/resident work areas. There’s places to eat while waiting for an appointment, and patients can register at paperless kiosks. It all works towards a more efficient process that’s now housed in a more convenient setting.
Another example is the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute near Boston, which recently secured roughly half of a 290,000-square-foot mixed-use property at the former Atrium Mall. The site, which is being renovated into a medical hub, is envisioned to serve as an extension of the institute’s main campus. There, it will provide exams, infusions and supportive services to newly diagnosed adult cancer patients, and the location offers plenty of parking, as well as a connection to public transit.
These solutions benefit providers, mall owners and the community, which in the case of Vanderbilt, has revitalized the surrounding area. Some even speculate a hospital wing could be built where a former anchor store once stood.
Photo by Bob Schatz
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