Urgent Care Development Has the Wind at Its Back

Originally published by GlobeSt

Continued growth in the urgent care sector through 2029 will lead to more investments in real estate, according to a report issued this week. 

According to Data Bridge Market Research, “the urgent care market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 5.35% between 2022 and 2029, which translates to a continued push to redevelop outdated retail into urgent care, along with new construction.” 

Increasing incidence of sports-related injuries, reduced waiting times, and growing awareness about urgent-care centers are expected to expand the market, according to the report. 

Medical Groups Seeking Capital 

Mitch Creem, principal, GreenRock, tells GlobeSt.com that he believes investors see urgent care as an investment opportunity during this period of limited hospital access due to COVID and continued hospital closures in suburban and rural areas. 

“There are many primary physician, nurse practitioner and physician assistant groups looking for capital for facility construction, upgrades and modernization,” Creem said. “In many cases, physicians are eager to monetize their real estate equity holdings to provide dividends to the group or provide funds for succession planning and retirements."

“The outlook for these investments looks strong due to the converging trends of a growing aged population and a shift of medical care towards lower cost outpatient settings such as urgent care facilities, medical office buildings and outpatient surgery centers.” 

In addition, the urgent care sector is continuing to evolve with the emergence of specialized urgent care facilities, Toby Scrivner, Northmarq senior vice president and healthcare specialist, tells GlobeSt.com. “Specialized operators provide services such as orthopedics, pediatrics, behavioral or pulmonology as examples. We should expect to see more of these specialized operators opening locations across the country, as consumers appreciate the expert focus and shorter wait times.” 

Urgent Care an Ideal Niche 

David Lari, partner, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, tells GlobeSt.com, “The urgent care sector is booming, and I think it will continue to be a high growth investment area for the foreseeable future.  

“Urgent care facilities provide a niche service that doesn’t really exist in the hospital or medical office building arena. Patients with non-life-threatening illnesses can go to an urgent care when they need immediate medical help instead of potentially waiting hours in a hospital emergency room." 

“Urgent care facilities really filled a void and showed their value during the pandemic, and they continue to be thriving. Today, many of the investors in the urgent care space are regional owners-operators as the sector is operationally intensive. Institutional investors seem to be making more inroads into this space and that trend will likely continue.” 

Curt Pascoe, vice president of real estate development for Ryan Companies US, tells GlobeSt.com that by adding urgent and immediate care centers to their health systems, healthcare providers have experienced many benefits including lower healthcare costs, improved customer access to care and reduced emergency room wait times as patients with lower-acuity needs can be treated at urgent care sites.  

“With these proven results, the urgent care market will continue to grow,” Pascoe said. “Urgent care centers increasingly serve as the patient’s first point of contact to the healthcare provider, so it is imperative to create a positive experience to retain the customer.” 

As an example, Ryan Companies US, recently developed, built, and now serves as property manager of a new health center for tenant Edward-Elmhurst Health, one of Illinois’ largest integrated health systems.  

The two-story, 36,100-square-foot health center opened in October 2021 at a busy intersection in Woodridge, Ill., and includes offices for primary care physicians and specialists. Other services include a walk-in clinic, behavioral health, physical therapy, laboratory and diagnostic imaging. 

Shopping Centers a Worthy Location for Services 

Simone Healthcare Development, an affiliate of Simone Development Companies, recently broke ground on a redevelopment of a 63,000-square-foot retail store for the creation of the Catholic Health Ambulatory & Urgent Care facility in Centereach, N.Y. 

The Catholic Health center features primary care, women’s health, behavioral health, cardiology, neurosciences, orthopedics, and several other services.  

“The rise of online shopping means that some retailers are downsizing their footprints,” Joanna Simone, Principal and President of Leasing and Property Management operations at Simone Development Companies, said in prepared remarks. 

“This restructuring opens opportunities for providers like Catholic Health to deliver their services in consumer-friendly shopping centers that are established destinations.” 

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