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Repurposing Commercial Buildings into Dedicated Medical and Allied Health Precincts in Australia

By Nicolas Milner

The Australian healthcare system is facing several challenges, including an aging population, increasing chronic diseases, and a shortage of healthcare professionals. In response to these challenges, there is a growing trend of repurposing commercial buildings into dedicated medical and allied health precincts.

There are numerous advantages to repurposing existing buildings for healthcare purposes. A study by the University of Melbourne highlights some of these advantages as they summarised that the repurposing of commercial buildings into medical precincts can generate significant economic benefits for local communities. The study found that the repurposing of a single commercial building into a medical precinct can create up to 100 new jobs, generate an additional $10 million in economic activity, and attract up to 10,000 new visitors to the area each year.

There are also some potential challenges associated with repurposing commercial buildings for healthcare purposes. As mentioned in a previous article outlining ‘Finding the Right Property for Healthcare Specialists’ (http://bit.ly/Finding_the_Right_Property_for_Healthcare_Specialists), factors such as the building layout, parking and location have different standards and expectations in commercial compared to medical property. If some of these factors are not matched, it may be expensive to adapt the building to meet the healthcare standards.

Despite the challenges, there are a number of examples of successful repurposing projects in Australia. For example, the former Myer department store in Melbourne has been converted into a state-of-the-art medical precinct that houses a range of healthcare services, including a hospital, a cancer centre, and a rehabilitation centre. Another example is the former Ford factory in Geelong, which has been converted into a new medical and allied health precinct that will provide a range of services to the local community.

Impacts:

  • Increased access to healthcare services
  • Revitalisation of under-utilised or declining areas
  • Creation of new jobs and economic activity
  • Increased foot traffic and tourism
  • Improved public health

The repurposing of commercial, retail, and industrial buildings into dedicated medical and allied health precincts is a complex issue. It is important to carefully consider the potential impacts of these projects, including the different expectations of healthcare property compared to commercial property. However, overall, the repurposing of these buildings can be a positive development for the Australian healthcare system and local communities.

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