Shopping Center Owners Get Shot in the Arm from Urgent-Care Clinics

Urgent care clinics have become one of the fastest-growing sectors of the medical-care industry, and more are appearing in neighborhood retail centers, offering an increase to flagging tenancy levels. While they may not be a cure to what ails the shopping center market, they are providing some relief.

The urgent-care sector is a highly fragmented industry with more than 4,300 business running more than 9,600 units, inning accordance with data from National UC Real estate, a Tampa-based company that has specialized in the category for the last 10 years.

And more systems are releasing all the time. In a recent example, Hartford HealthCare and GoHealth Urgent Care joined forces last month to announce plans to open up to 15 urgent care centers in main and eastern Connecticut starting this spring. One of the largest urgent care business in the U.S., GoHealth runs nearly 60 immediate care centers in the New York, Portland and San Francisco Bay locations.

Hartford HealthCare, one of 3 significant health systems in Connecticut, is spending millions of dollars through the program to relocate most of its immediate care services from regular physicians’ offices to retail sites.

Morningstar Credit Scores tracks $739.8 million in industrial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) with direct exposure to urgent-care centers as one of the 5 biggest tenants in the property backing the loans. And that may simply be a drop in the container to loans supporting centers with such centers, Morningstar says.

Demand for urgent-care services is being sustained by development in two essential constituencies that are entering prime years for healthcare services: aging baby boomers and millennials with young households.

Nontraditional capital sources such as personal equity and venture-capital funds are also behind much of the market’s growth, having invested more than $3 billion into urgent-care centers from 2010 to 2015, according to Morningstar data. Investors and shopping mall owners alike discover these clinics appealing since they typically have strong corporate warranties and familiar renters, and many medical leases include rent escalations.

Financial investment in urgent-care centers has actually also acquired traction among insurance companies and healthcare facilities. Hospital chains consisting of HCA Holdings Inc. and Tenet Healthcare Corp. have actually bought urgent-care centers and, like Hartford HealthCare– are establishing their own.

This mixing of medical usage and retail space isn’t really without risks, including continuous combination in the urgent-care market, the prospect for added competition and possible changes to the Affordable Care Act, inning accordance with Morningstar.


Michael Zelnik, president and founder of National

UC Realty” Although they are desirable tenants, not every shopping center has the needed credit to support a profitable urgent care center,” stated Michael Zelnik, president and founder of National UC Real estate.”Many urgent care centers are just 2,500 to 3,500 square feet, so they are not going to move the needle that much for retail centers.”

Retail operators who prioritize low-cost rental rates or the attraction of the most recent advancements may be neglecting essential problems that identify the success of an urgent-care operation, such as the structure of the surrounding population (consisting of the aging boomers and family-starting millenniels pointed out formerly, existing competitors in the market, or shopping center associates that might impede walk-in traffic at the centers.

Overlooking such key elements has avoided numerous immediate care operators around the country from accomplishing a lucrative client volume, Zelnick stated. And shopping center owners might be making a dangerous financial investment by leasing space and supplying occupant enhancement money to an urgent-care operation that may be unable to establish the necessary client volume.

Zelnik absolutely nos in on the significance of finding in locations with a large population of younger kids or older adults – those most likely to need immediate care services. Other key characteristics include locations with few other existing medical service providers and websites with maximum visibility and routine high traffic counts, not simply random peaks.

“I do not see them as a rescuer, however they can be an excellent tenant,” Zelnik stated.

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