While at my previous firm, one of our clients acquired an industrial building next to their hospital with the intention of converting it to a 300-bed inpatient hospital. The building had a large loading dock on the ground floor, as well as three parking floors and 10 industrial floors above. Soon after the purchase, it became apparent that renovating the building into a hospital wouldn’t be easy. The elevator core was in an awkward location and the parking ramp occupied a large portion of the ground floor. Simply put, it required many more-extensive modifications than the client was able to finance. Soon after this realization, the client announced its decision to demolish the building and construct a new, flexible hospital.
In another project, the client asked the firm to study the possibility of converting an inpatient hospital for other uses, such as labs, college classrooms, a senior living facility and offices. The facility was about 40 years old but well maintained. Our study revealed that, due to its robust mechanical and structural system with regularly spaced columns, and its concentrated core with an open floor plan, the facility had the potential for reuse for as many different functions as the new owner wanted.
Many clients see their buildings as a long-term capital investment and frequently regard them as "100-year" buildings. However, since nobody can predict what patient care will look like 20 years from now, let alone 100, “100-year” buildings are inevitably renovated many times for a variety of uses. Healthcare policy changes, such as the Affordable Care Act, and technology advancements directly and indirectly influence healthcare facilities and the healthcare market overall.