Could your search for healthcare jobs lead you to a new position at the mall? Absolutely. As healthcare systems and medical groups are looking for ways to expand without putting a ton of money into new buildings, they are finding the mall environment quite attractive. Malls all over the country are being transformed into mixed-use facilities that include medical facilities of all stripes.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center has already successfully converted open space at one Nashville mall into multiple clinics. Now they have their eyes set on the Hickory Hollow Mall in the city’s southeast district. The mall offers more than 1 million square feet of easily flexible space, space that could be utilized by a health clinic just as easily as a clothing boutique.
Saving the Dying Mall
America’s shopping malls became the place to see and be seen when they first emerged in the 1970s. Throughout the eighties and into the nineties, shopping mall owners enjoyed strong revenue and plenty of growth. But then, for whatever reason, the mall began dying out. An already struggling business model took a big hit from the COVID pandemic.
These days, owners are looking for every possible way to save the dying mall. Mixed-use projects are one way to do that. Furthermore, inviting medical facilities to set up shop in empty mall space is a win-win for multiple reasons. Property owners benefit by signing new tenants. Medical facilities benefit from two things malls offer in spades: floor space and parking.
Shopping malls are known for their wide-open spaces, especially in anchor stores. Turning a former department store into a surgical center is just one example. The owner of a medical center walks in and has hundreds of thousands of square feet ready to be converted into surgical suites. Outside is a vast ocean of parking space that offers patients easy access.
The Possibilities Are Endless
If this new mixed-use model catches on with medical groups, the possibilities could be endless. From primary care clinics to remote healthcare screening solutions, nothing is off the table. That means plenty of healthcare jobs in spaces that used to be occupied by retail workers hawking everything from bedsheets to jeans.
Turning vacant mall space into medical space is the real estate equivalent of repurposing. It is a fantastic idea whose time has come. Think about it. How much land was cleared to build that huge mall that now sits nearly empty? It doesn’t make sense to tear the structure down and start over again. So why not re-purpose it?
Malls are perfect for redevelopment because they are essentially skeletons of flexible space. Malls are architectural shells. You keep the perimeter walls and roof intact while inside, the space is flexible enough to accommodate just about anything. Malls are designed to be that way.
Mixing Medical with Retail
Even more intriguing is the concept of mixing medical with retail. One group of workers goes to the mall in search of retail jobs. Another group seeks out medical jobs. While they are all working their typical 9-to-5s, patients and customers become one and the same. They see their doctors first thing in the morning, then head down the walkway to pick up a cup of coffee before going shopping. It is a marriage made in heaven.
Your next search for healthcare jobs may very well have you looking at mall employment. You might not be staffing the cash register at a retail shop, but you could be offering primary healthcare services in a clinic right next door. It is the wave of the future.