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Mall Makeover: Medical Outpatient Service Environments Emerge

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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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.