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Major Considerations for Office to Medical Office Building Conversions

Kevin Haggerty • 1/13/2021

The next 10 years will see the fastest growth in the 65 and over population, ramping up demand for medical services at the fastest rate in history, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s recent healthcare sector report. Medical spending is also expected to increase. From 2019 to 2027, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) project that healthcare spending will rise by approximately $268 billion per year, nearly twice as much each year as the previous decade. With that comes opportunity for medical office buildings (MOBs).  

While the pandemic caused short term challenges for medical real estate, demand for MOBs has consistently been higher than that for traditional office. From 2009 to 2019, MOB occupancy increased by approximately 16% (roughly 160 msf), a faster pace of occupancy growth than the national office market where occupancy rose slightly less than 12%. 

In light of these economic indicators and supplemental data, we expect continued interest in exploring MOB conversions of certain office assets meeting the necessary criteria.  

Our Project & Development Services experts compiled the below list of infrastructure considerations necessary for conversion of traditional office to medical office: 

MOB Office

zoning

Zoning

“By right” preferred, consider timeframes and complications with ‘Special Exception’ or re-zoning application process 
structure Structure 
Slab to Slab generally needs to be above 12’-0” because of the larger volumes of piping and ductwork traversing spaces  
Parking Parking 
Parking density very important, security controls considerations  
HVAC HVAC / Controls 

Compartmentalized suites may require multiple systems, increased need for shaft space 

Power Life Power/Life Safety Redundancy 
Generally, requires adequate power density for conversion 
ADA Compliance ADA Compliance 

Consider core space considerations for new fixtures or unisex toilets 

Plumbing Plumbing 
Sanitary capacity will require review, adequate locations for sanitary and domestic water stacks and drains 
roof space Roof Space 

Identified space on roof for additional equipment   

Generators Generators 
Locations identified for tenant supplied generators  
Drop Off Drop-Off / Pick-up 

Covered area

Elevators Elevators  Sized to accommodate EMS Stretcher 

Healthcare
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