We assembled a panel of industry experts to tackle our recent roundtable question.
Here’s what they had to say.
Darren Lizzack, associate vice president, NAI James E. Hanson, (Hackensack)
As health care practices continue to merge and grow in both physical size and geographic reach, the demand for real estate is rapidly evolving to meet today’s changing health care model needs. Throughout the industry, the dust is settling from recent mergers and providers are taking a hard look at their real estate needs as leases are set to expire.
For some, current spaces are too small for newly added staff and patients, while for others, their spaces lack the technology and design needed for a modern medical facility. With many looking at moving into larger, state-of-the-art facilities, a restricted supply of quality medical-oriented spaces and a deeper supply of low-quality functionally obsolete spaces makes for an ideal opportunity for new construction. Within the next three to five years, I see an uptick in new health care-oriented construction taking place throughout the state as providers look to create inviting and flexible long-term facilities.
Christopher Paladino, president, New Brunswick Development Corp. (New Brunswick)
The formation of collaboration paradigms between research universities, entrepreneurs and established industries are accelerating the commercialization of technology and expanding regional economies.
Around the world, research universities and innovators are co-locating in thriving, diverse and culturally rich urban environments. These unique partnerships of proximity are fostering the development of new science, therapies, products and technologies.
Large research universities have become magnets and catalysts for exciting urban redevelopment and intellectual development as they collaborate with innovators, accelerators and established industries through innovative public-private partnerships. Simply put, creating an ecosystem where academic researchers, students, entrepreneurs and other innovators work in close proximity allows for creative collisions to occur.
Michael R. Bieri, AIA, vice president, FKA Architects (Oakland)
Gone are the days of the traditional school classroom with rows of one-piece desks and chalk boards. The rise in mobile technology coupled with flexible furnishings has pulled the plug from the wall, allowing freedom for learning to happen in every corner of a school. The “in-between” spaces in schools like corners, corridors, cafeterias and lobbies are now increasingly used as informal, collaborative work areas for projects, research and study. Schools endeavor to utilize every inch of their buildings by creating environments that promote these types of in-between spaces where students can easily meet in a relaxed, technology-filled environment to do their work.
The students of today will demand a market for tomorrow’s work and office space like this that is open, flexible and technologically connected, without walls or closed offices, and with plenty of in-between spaces where ideas and creativity can easily and naturally flow.
Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, CEO and president, DMR Architects, (Hasbrouck Heights)
Health care facilities look and feel different now as architects respond to high-tech requirements and the burst of satellite locations and special care facilities that are becoming increasingly prevalent as hospital networks merge and patient profiles change.
The implications in the real estate industry are broad, as sometimes weak suburban office and retail segments are finding new tenants in buildings previously thought to be unfit for medical uses. DMR’s practice features numerous recent examples, including refitting a former bank and office building in Bridgewater into a multispecialty outpatient facility for Hunterdon Healthcare and Atlantic Health System. In a separate engagement, the firm repurposed space previously needed for dialysis care at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick to enable other complementary practices to relocate together and improve patient admission experiences.
Keeping up with advancements in medical technology is a challenge for real estate people, architects and hospital administrators. But the opportunities are rewarding. Smaller equipment leads to more patients being served in the same space. Reductions in overnight stays through outpatient facilities improves performance at hospitals. While there is an enormous transition going on, medical facilities are finding greater and greater productivity from their real estate use, and often insightful design is at the center of that process.