Healthcare real estate developer Joe Simone predicts that the urgent care center boom will continue in 2021.

“Urgent care centers and retail clinics continue to proliferate across the U.S. because patients are increasingly demanding convenience and affordability,” said Joe Simone, President of Simone Development Companies, a leading developer of healthcare facilities. “I see many opportunities for healthcare real estate developers in dense downtowns and urban centers as patients increasingly value proximity.”

Between 2013 and 2019, the number of urgent care centers rose from about 6,100 to 9,616, according to the Urgent Care Association.

“Much of this increase is due to patients’ unwillingness to schedule appointments days or weeks away,” said Joseph Simone. “On-demand healthcare is becoming the norm and all health providers must adjust their business models to this evolving reality.”

For urgent care facilities, location is paramount. The demand for urgent care in suburban shopping centers or retail corridors has motivated many communities to change their land-use rules to include medical practices where they formerly were not allowed. Landlords whose retail or commercial properties have become outdated are finding new tenants in the urgent care sector.

“Simone Development has been a leader in repurposing outdated buildings for new medical uses. Our Boyce Thompson Center in Yonkers, N.Y. is a model for an adaptive reuse that incorporates medical, retail, personal services, wellness and dining to create a regional destination,” said Joseph Simone. “I foresee my company going into our region’s dense downtowns to create new medical spaces that are easily accessible by foot and mass transit.”