Healthcare Midwest

The evolving world of healthcare: Trend toward freestanding facilities continues

Colliers listing 10-acre Shriners hospital campus in Minneapolis,ph01

The way medical providers treat patients is changing. Patients no longer want to drive to a main hospital building where they might have to fight traffic and hunt for a parking space. Instead, they prefer receiving treatment at smaller, less crowded outpatient centers. This trend is behind a big change from a major medical institution in the Midwest cities of Lexington, Kentucky, and Minneapolis.

Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities recently made the move from a hospital model to an outpatient clinic format to better serve its patients. Because of this, the Shriners no longer need its 10-acre hospital campus at 2025 E. River Parkway in Minneapolis or its 28-acre medical campus in Lexington. This 10-acre site has been listed for sale and is being marketed by Colliers International.

Florida-based Shriners Hospitals for Children will continue offering medical services at the Minneaepolis East River Parkway location until the clinic moves to a new location in the Twin Cities. According to Colliers, Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities is developing a more modern facility for all clinical services and will relocate to this space when it is ready. Shriners has already opened a new clinic facility in Lexington.

Both properties do offer opportunities for the right buyer. The Minneapolis location sits on more than 10 acres between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul and is just one mile from the University of Minnesota's main campus.

"The hospital is a newer facility," said Louis Suarez, vice president with Colliers International in Minneapolis. "The attention to detail and the quality is first-rate. Shriners Hospital has really kept the buildings in top condition. Then there is the setting. The larger acreage and pristine areas of the city are impressive. In Minneapolis, you don't see many hospitals come up for sale. You see clinics and specialty centers, but not something on the scale as an operating hospital."

Sloane Nichols, brokerage vice president with Colliers International in Cincinnati, said that the Lexington hospital is also one of the more interesting projects to come for sale in the Lexington area. 

"It is a beautiful setting," Nichols said. "It's in a perfect location, too, so close to downtown Lexington and the University of Kentucky. Then there are the physical structures themselves. The buildings are incredibly maintained."

The 103,500-square-foot Minneapolis inpatient occupancy hospital features a skyway-connected 14,000-square-foot 10-room hotel, two-story parking deck and outdoor amenity space. The wooded backyard and location along the Mississippi River is another selling point.

The former Shriners Hospital in Lexington is located just 2.5 miles from the city's downtown and the University of Kentucky. Its 28-acre campus includes a 179,000-square-foot hospital building that includes 114,452 square feet of finished space mostly on one floor. 

The Shriners' move is not an unusual one today. A growing number of healthcare providers are offering more services in smaller, outpatient facilities. This has changed the job of the commercial brokerages and developers that work with these providers.

Developers are building outpatient and specialty clinics today, both in urban settings and in the suburbs. The goal for medical providers is to make it as easy as possible for their patients to access the medical treatment they need. Patients prefer shorter visits to free-standing clinics over longer stays in hospitals.

Medical providers, then, are more frequently reserving their hospital facilities for the most serious of injuries and illnesses. 

"Providers are moving more toward a patient-centric approach," Suarez said. "You see more medical facilities opening in a retail setting, hubs that are closer to where the people are. That's where people want to receive their care today. The hospitals are becoming places where you see more specialized work. It's all about how providers can deliver healthcare more efficiently."

Nichols said that this is a trend that won't slow anytime soon.

"Our whole world is more about convenience today," Nichols said. "Everyone wants everything right away. We get Amazon deliveries to our door on the same day we order them. People want their basic primary care close to where they are, convenient. That is pushing the medical providers into the various neighborhoods."

Mel Bower, chief marketing and communications officer with Shriners Hospitals for Children, said that medical technology has evolved so that procedures that once required a stay in a hospital can now be handled in outpatient facilities. 

This change is a good one, Bower said, making life easier for the patients and families that Shriners serves.

"It is an exciting development for our patients," Bower said. "They can receive their treatment and then that same day be surrounded by family at home and away from the hospital. Conditions that once might have required a week or  more in the hospital now can be done in an outpatient setting. We are always trying to meet the needs of our patients, so we are moving some of our facilities toward outpatient care to better serve their immediate needs."