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Creating a menu for retail with a side of medical

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Jeff Ottman, Partner and Executive Vice President of Operations out of our Nashville, TN office, had an article published in the April 19 – May 2, 2017 edition of the Colorado Real Estate Journal. We’re so proud of him and we think his article on how to take care of medical tenants in a retail setting is worth sharing here. So, without further ado, here is Jeff’s article, “Creating a menu for retail with a side of medical”.

Written by Jeff Ottman, Partner & EVP – Operations (Nashville, TN)

Last month my youngest son complained of a fever as were returning home from an evening basketball game. I checked my best news source — social media. Yes, influenza is rampant through schools. Parental decision-making began. First we had to gather intelligence. Did we get flu shots this year? Yes. Are you sure? Yes! Are you really sick? Yes. Does he feel hot? Yes. How many kids were out today? Four. Are you sure you’re sure he feels hot? Yes! Ok, we are going to DEFCON 1! This is not a drill.

We were fortunate to find an after-hours pediatric clinic that was located within a retail development. The pharmacy, grocery and a take-out restaurant were all right there. I began to relax. We would survive the night. Plus, I was hungry for Chinese.

Healthcare is evolving and no one is certain of its next form. Regardless of future regulation, health care providers must adapt their service delivery model to meet the demands of a growing and aging population. Medical use will continue to expand in locations that offer user convenience — retail as well  as traditional office near retail.  Property owners and managers should be familiar with the unique demands of medical tenants.

First and foremost, medical tenants provide services to those who are sick and injured, who often are accompanied by friends or family. Simply stated, patient traffic creates additional demands on parking, common area elements and entryway elements. Sick patients may encounter difficulty driving and walking. Slip-and-falls are more frequent as well as parking lot accidents.

Second, utility service and consumption should provide the capacity required by the medical tenant. With sinks in most, if not all, exam rooms, water consumption may be significant. Electrical consumption is impacted not only by typical office equipment but also by specialized medical equipment. For example, dialysis requires exceptional amounts of water. Imaging equipment will consume a significant amount of electricity. Procedure or surgical rooms may require additional cooling.

Third, and perhaps the most critical, is janitorial needs. Medical tenants expect cleanliness inside and out as do their patients. Often night cleaning is supplemented during the day with a day porter. With additional janitorial comes extra cleaning supplies and possibly more waste removal. Additionally, medical tenants generate medical waste, which needs to be dealt with independent of routine waste.

In a mixed-use environment, these considerations may impact a property owner’s cost, a property manager’s budgets and, if not analyzed correctly, other tenant’s common area maintenance charges. Informed owners and managers recognize the medical user’s unique needs. Certainly several of these may be carved out of the land-lord’s responsibilities, but often a medical user is an expert in treating patients. We need to be the experts in providing them the space and community to deliver their services.

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