Hartford Healthcare planning to add a dozen new medical facilities in Fairfield County – CT Insider

Hartford Healthcare planning to add a dozen new medical facilities in Fairfield County – CT Insider

Hartford Healthcare’s medical facility on Universal Drive in North Haven is located in what was once a Sports Authority store. Now Hartford Healthcare is expanding in Fairfield County using former retail spaces.
Hartford Healthcare is making a major push into southwestern Connecticut, adding a dozen new medical facilities in Fairfield County over the next 18 months, according to an executive with the company that will be handling the construction work.
Rich Lee, managing director for Branford-based for O,R & L Commercial said most of the new medical facilities will be developed in former retail spaces across Fairfield County. Lee made his remarks during a recent panel discussion regarding commercial development trends at a meeting of the Connecticut and western Massachusetts chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.
“You’re going to see Hartford Healthcare all over Fairfield County in the coming months,” Lee said. He said converting retail space into medical facilities makes the most sense “because of the ease of access and availability of parking.”
Karen Goyette, vice president of strategic planning and business development for Hartford Healthcare, said a pair of factors will determine where expansion takes place.
“We’re trying to address the availability of lower cost (health care) options,” Goyette said. “At the same time, as we’re developing assets in the community, we’re trying to assess where there are gaps in coverage and what the needs are.”
Hartford Healthcare officials have not yet identified the specific locations.
Hartford Healthcare is no stranger to retail-to-medical conversions. In the summer of 2020, Hartford Healthcare opened a medical center in 40,700 square feet of space in the North Haven Pavilion shopping center on Universal Drive that had been a Sports Authority location that closed in 2016.
The decline of retail activity in brick-and-mortar locations over the past decade has made vacant store space more widely available. The arrival of the pandemic has only accelerated the number of vacancies.
Lee, who said health care projects account for 75 percent of O,R&L’s overall business, added that the size of spaces that the company normally deals with in terms of retail-to-medical conversions ranges from 2,500 square feet to 75,000 square feet.
Hartford Healthcare’s rival in the Connecticut hospital marketplace, Yale New Haven Health System, is taking on a much larger retail-to-medical conversion at the Meriden Mall.
Last October, Yale New Haven Health bought the 179,285-square-foot, two-story former Macy’s spot in the mall for what it is calling a “comprehensive ambulatory center.”
Redevelopment of the former mall anchor space in Meriden will take 18 to 24 months The services planned for the facility will begin opening over a phased time frame, with completion of construction expected by the end of 2023 or early 2024.
Angela Mattie, a professor of management and medical sciences at Quinnipiac University, said bringing medical care closer to where people live “is a way of increasing the value of our health care system.”
“It’s where we should always be focusing our discussions,” Mattie said. “And adding accessibility to that equation is important. If you have a 90-year old mother, it’s easier to park next to where you’re taking and drop her off rather than taking her into Hartford or New Haven and using a parking garage.”
Converting former retail spaces into medical facilities makes sense, she said, because retail centers usually have easy access to highways.
luther.turmelle@
hearstmediact.com
Luther Turmelle covers business for the New Haven Register and Hearst Connecticut Media as well as the towns of Cheshire and Wallingford. He specializes in covering the utility and energy beats. A graduate of Boston University, Turmelle has held multiple leadership roles in the Society of Professional Journalist, including two terms serving on the organization’s national Board of Directors.

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