How an orthopedic practice could save a declining shopping mall


In February, the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center opened a $277 million orthopedic ASC in a former Henrietta, N.Y., Sears retail space. 

The building features eight operating rooms, 32 post op recovery rooms, 144 examination rooms and an imaging center for CT, MRI, ultrasound and X-rays, according to a Sept. 1 press release. 

UR also plans to complete a four-story tower and the Center for Human Athleticism & Musculoskeletal Performance and Prevention at the site later this year. 

The new ASC expects to perform 7,000 surgeries in 2024, according to the report. Originally, UR discussed building a new facility from the ground up but was inspired by Vanderbilt University's repurposing of a Nashville, Tenn.-based mall in 2009. 

Henrietta's Sears space anchored the mall for 30 years before closing. The space was then sold to UR for $18.3 million in 2020. Turning the space into an orthopedic facility has helped to bring more foot traffic to the mall, especially on weekdays when traffic is lower. 

The mall was 30 percent vacant when UR bought the space, but since announcing its arrival, five new tenants have opened up space. 

"Traffic at the food court increased from construction workers, and the Coffee Connection store saw a multifold increase in traffic once the project started," Steve Schultz, supervisor for the town of Henrietta, said in the release. 

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