As the retail sector grapples with waves of disruption caused by online shopping alternatives, retail center owners and operators are often faced with extra vacant retail space. These inventories of highly accessible, tall and wide format properties can be adaptively reused, often with minimal expense, into medical office buildings.
The accessibility of such space is probably the most significant factor that leads a former retail space into a new life as a medical office. Adding to the mix is the relatively cheap renovation cost — when space is wide and tall, wall demolition is often not needed.
Considering these and other issues when customizing a former retail space into a medical office building (MOB) is a great post by architect Craig Pryde of KTGY Architecture + Planning, published at REJournals.com.
Despite MOBs’ changing services, most facilities share common elements; waiting/reception areas, nurse stations, lab space, linen storage, exam rooms, procedure rooms, public and private toilets, and some specialty uses such as X-ray or imaging. These specialized spaces can present challenges in renovating the retail infrastructure, which may not be able to handle the increased mechanical, electrical and plumbing loads.
For instance, because MOBs require several interior spaces, rather than a large retail environment, they also demand greater control of HVAC equipment. This additional zoning may not be available through the existing HVAC units, and need to meet building codes, which require increased amounts of outside air and air changes per hour. As such, HVAC systems should be designed for flexibility as the functionality of the rooms change over time, and accommodate for growth as administrative space may be converted into exam rooms.