estchester will remember 2015 as the year in which walk-in medical clinics in the county outnumbered Starbucks locations (30 to 28, respectively). But what might go unnoted is that the two could be competing for the same real estate.
“Years ago, you didn’t see medical clinics in retail spaces, but now we’re seeing these clinics opening throughout Westchester,” says David Landes, partner at Royal Properties, a real estate brokerage located in Bronxville. “Today, they want to be tenants in shopping centers. It’s an expanding concept that’s taking retail space and paying retail rents.”
Landes’ firm participated in the deal that put CityMD, a walk-in urgent care provider with several New York-area locations, into the 7,500-square-foot former Pier 1 Imports space on Central Avenue in Yonkers last year. “Right across the street,” Landes adds, “PM Pediatrics [a walk-in children’s medical clinic] opened with 3,000 square feet.” CityMD also opened at 222 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, one of the city’s most visible corner locations vacated when retailer Mary Jane Denzer moved into The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester.
By our unofficial count, Westchester is now home to 30 walk-in clinics, nearly double the 17 clinics found in the county two years ago. More are coming, too: White Plains Hospital announced in February that it will open a 24,000-square-foot walk-in care space next to Equinox in Armonk.
“The explosion of walk-in medical care has been helped by the Affordable Care Act, which encourages people to go for care,” says Barry Endelson, president of Aries Deitch & Endelson, a commercial brokerage in Hartsdale. “Urgent care is one niche of the expanding personal services segment of retail leasing. It includes everything from massage to health clubs to makeup. It’s been a big boon to the retail real estate business, which has been falling off due to competition from the Internet and big-box stores.”
Endelson says storefront clinics look for many of the same qualities as other retailers. “They want high traffic and high exposure. They like the end cap of a strip mall (otherwise known as the corner location) or one of the top corners in a downtown area.” He also notes, “They also want convenient parking and signage.”
Property owners generally love medical retail tenants, according to Landes. “Landlords find them good draws for their shopping centers,” he says. “They bring in traffic, even during off-peak hours like evenings.”
He adds another important consideration: “They’re filling up a lot of vacant space. It’s another avenue for landlords to lease their properties to tenants with strong credit.”