More than a third of the respondents to this year's Construction & Design Survey are working on building renovation and conversion projects.
Many of them involve transforming the empty husks of former grocery stores, warehouses and small—or even some big-box— retail outlets into medical office buildings, free-standing clinics, emergency centers and other healthcare venues.
“A lot of our clients in healthcare are moving away from building new,” said Sonny Hamizadeh, an architect and the national senior executive for healthcare commercial construction with Toledo, Ohio-based SSOE. “Don't get me wrong, they're still building new, but if it's more economical (to renovate), a lot of people are going in that direction.”
Two whopper remodeling jobs—one in Providence, R.I., and the other in Toledo—are in a class by themselves. In Providence, two Rhode Island nursing schools plan to move into the lower floors of the massive former Narragansett Electric/National Grid power plant in time for the fall semester.
Two years ago, the vacant shell—a hulking brick, concrete and steel structure on the Providence River—would have made a better setting for a post-apocalypse sci-fi movie. It had operated as a power plant between 1912 and the early 1990s, but was then abandoned.
Also later this year, eight-hospital ProMedica Health System will consolidate its office space and move 1,000 workers from dozens of scattered sites to one main corporate headquarters in downtown Toledo.