Medical office space continues to thrive in the commercial real estate market. Determining the right location for a business, however, can prove to be a difficult undertaking. Below are five New Jersey areas that are trending in the healthcare field.
There are three factors that went into deciding these top trending areas. First, the size of the area’s established healthcare industry was considered. It may seem counterintuitive to move a new business into a region where an industry is heavily established. However, there are many benefits to business clustering: there are more suppliers of industry-specific services, which affords a business more options in industry-specific products and services; there are more professionals moving to the region due to the larger variety of positions available; and, competition encourages business growth and innovation.
The second factor considered was the area’s proximity to accredited universities with medical programs. Establishing a business within the proximity of a college or university can have a variety of direct and indirect benefits for a business. Not only can a business mentor interns and host students pursuing observational hours, but also a business can court recent graduates to work in their office. Institutions often have positive effects on local economies as well. For example, Rutgers University’s annual spending generated over $394 million in local tax revenues in 2016.
The final factor used to determine a trending area is the area’s access to public transit. Public transit helps both employees and patients access a medical office space. Additional qualities such as local culture and community growth were also considered.
Northern New Jersey
Bergen County’s city of Hackensack has a booming healthcare industry. There are two institutions with medical programs within twenty minutes of the city. Farleigh Dickenson University and Hackensack University Medical Center are both in the area; providing the city with interns and graduates who are constantly seeking entry into the healthcare field. There is a New Jersey Transit station in the city which provides convenient transit to Trenton, Hoboken, and New York City. Businesses in this city benefit from a diverse pool of potential employees and patients passing through on a daily basis. Most importantly, however, Hackensack has a healthcare industry that employs over 18% of the city’s residents, the largest industry in town. The area also continues to invest in its infrastructure, with downtown redevelopment plans improving the infrastructure of nearly 390 individual properties. Hackensack is a diverse city with many medical office spaces to choose from. Businesses – as well as their employees and patients – will find Hackensack to be a lively and professionally invigorating city.
The second Bergen County city to make this list, Rutherford offers transit options to Hackensack as well as Newark and New York City. Within the borough of Rutherford lies Felician University’s School of Nursing and Jersey College’s nursing program. Over 75% of Rutherford post-secondary students studied nursing in 2015. With a consistent stream of students looking for post-secondary employment, businesses in Rutherford have a variety of interns and graduates at their disposal. The healthcare industry continues to grow in this city, with multiple locations for medical office space available. The city itself is seeing median household incomes grow, as evidenced by the 2.9% increase in 2015. The city has diverse cultural experiences including the William Center of the Arts, a community band, and food festivals. Rutherford is ideal for businesses that want to be located within the New York City metro area while also benefiting from a more suburban way of life.
Clifton is a notable city due to its very young population. 2015 census data shows that over 7% of the city’s native population is aged 18 – 24. The largest adult population consists of millennials, making up almost 9% of the population (note that the under- seventeen population skews some of these statistics – this group totals over 14% of the population). The city features lively shopping destinations which cater to their largely millennial clientele. Additionally, Clifton is twenty minutes away from Montclair State University, an institution that has a well-established Health Careers program. A New Jersey Transit line running through the middle of town provides direct transit to Secaucus and Hoboken, which connects Clifton residents to other trendy cities. Clifton’s medical industry continues to grow as well, employing over 14% of the city in 2015. With ample medical office space available in the city, businesses that move to Clifton will not only have their choice of top facilities, but also they will be in the center of a youthful, growing city.
Central New Jersey
New Brunswick is famed for housing many well-regarded medical schools. Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, and Rutgers University are all in the heart of the city. Recent studies show that over 70% of New Jersey college graduates who attended four-year institutions stay in their university’s metro area. With so many large institutions in New Brunswick, the city is full of new and recent graduates. New Brunswick is family friendly as well. The city offers multiple live theaters, multiple historical sights, and a host of unique dining experiences, including a fleet of food trucks. Additionally, New Brunswick continues to revitalize older infrastructure. With new apartments and redevelopment projects under construction over the past several years. With access to the main New Jersey Transit Northern Corridor line, as well as multiple bus services, New Brunswick offers access to both New York City and Philadelphia. This city is capable of attracting both prospective employees and new business from out of state. New Brunswick is ideal for small businesses that want to move to a family friendly yet energetic area.
Southern New Jersey
This is a chic, suburban city that offer a variety of medical office spaces. Cherry Hill’s healthcare industry employs 17.5% of the city’s residents. Approximately a twenty-minute drive from Philadelphia, Cherry Hill medical offices can build relationships with medical students at famed Philadelphia institutions, including the Temple University School of Medicine and the Drexel University School of Medicine. As of 2015, New Jersey students make up the second largest population at Drexel’s School of Medicine, second only to native Pennsylvanian students. Establishing a business in Cherry Hill can be beneficial for courting New Jersey natives and inviting them to return to their home state for work. There are also local students that medical offices can build relationships with in Cherry Hill. Since 61.5% of 2015’s graduating post-secondary students in the area earned degrees in the medical field. Medical office space in Cherry Hill can benefit from many public transit options as well, with both bus and train lines connecting the suburb to Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Cherry Hill offers many lively cultural experiences, including museums, parks, and a historical farmhouse. Since Cherry Hill is an edge city of Philadelphia, businesses that move to the area will benefit from an active and suburban work environment. Now that some of New Jersey’s best areas have been determined, it is important to consider what amenities are necessary for a medical office space.
Ideal Amenities for Medical Office Space
Telemedicine technology support
Potential businesses need to look for spaces that support telemedicine and telehealth technologies. In July of 2017, the state of New Jersey enacted a telemedicine law that established regulations on how telemedicine and telehealth services would work in the state. These technological services provide software that allows patients to better communicate with providers. Some telemedicine software allows patients to live chat with providers. While others create apps for practices to use to communicate with patients. Telemedicine can increase the amount of time a provider spends with a patient. One study found that in-person patients often spent only 15% of their time with a provider; however, patients receiving care through telemedicine spent 88% of their time with a provider. Physical medical office space is still a necessity, but telemedicine allows providers to also reach out beyond their local community. Not only do their patients have an increased rate of personal care, but also patients are also more satisfied with their care. Having a location in a trending city is a great start, and with telemedicine a business can broaden its patient base.
What to avoid: storage space
Square feet are a major commodity in all real estate, but this is particularly true of medical office space. As of the third quarter of 2017, northern New Jersey had 1,938 medical buildings comprising of almost 27 million square feet. Average base rent per square foot in northern New Jersey was $20.36 toward the end of 2017. When every square foot counts, how one utilizes space can be vital to a business’ bottom line. Therefore, filling precious office space with filing cabinets can quickly become a waste of space. Rather than choosing a space that provides large swathes of storage, invest in electronic medical record software services. Many of these services can operate in tandem to telehealth services, and digital records are more environmentally friendly. If a medical office space offers large storage spaces, consider turning that space into a different facility.
The best medical office space can be found in major cities and comfortable suburbs across New Jersey. These areas offer not only strong healthcare industries, but also they offer unique cultural experiences. When looking for a new space, be mindful of the ever-changing nature of the healthcare industry. Businesses that want to stay ahead will need to invest in more technological services.