Interview with Carl Wright, Philadelphia
How did you first get involved in developing health care properties? Can you talk a bit about the current trend of retailers moving into health care?
Patient First elected to expand in the Philadelphia market so they interviewed various developers and we were just fortunate enough to have been a good fit for them, primarily because we have a pharmacy development background and urgent care projects and pharmacy projects are kind of similar. As far as the kind of trend, we’re certainly seeing a lot of what I call “point of service” healthcare buildings that can treat patients where they are and in a convenient manner. Certainly, the emergency room is becoming disrupted a little bit and rightfully so. I mean, you wouldn’t want severe critical injuries treated in the same place as bee-stings or poison ivy. We’re seeing a lot of urgent care and other types of places that allow people faster, convenient, and less expensive medical treatment.
What other trends in commercial real estate development are you noticing?
I think we’re all seeing the online impact as more and more retailers are downsizing or closing down. I think Macy’s is a perfect example and certainly Sports Authority, Borders, etc. I think that it’s becoming much more competitive, especially if you’re competing with something that can be bought online. That’s definitely a trend and one that’s going to impact the future of commercial real estate immensely.
What is your thought process when planning for a new project?
I certainly start with the end user in mind, whether it be a tenant or how our tenant will treat their patients or service customers. I think it all starts from that mindset. Once we have the vision, we use various systems, checklists and processes that allow us to take that vision through construction and, ultimately, occupancy. Those checklists are a collective list of every mistake we’ve made in the past which we try not to repeat. We also have a pretty detailed scheduling process. The average project of ours will have 50, 75, 80 line items and the scheduling systems allows us to prioritize, visualize and to capture every possible task. We’ve found that it’s been really helpful for us when executing a real estate project. In summary, it’s about understanding the vision through our customer’s eyes using our systems and checklists to execute the process. They seem to appreciate that.