The University of Rochester Medical Center and the Wilmorite Corporation announced on Monday morning that URMC will create an Orthopaedics and Physical Performance Center in the old Sears space.
“There was nothing that I could say that would get more press coverage than IKEA,” Henrietta Supervisor Stephen Schultz said at a Monday morning at a news conference at Marketplace Mall.
The announcement in the East Corridor of Marketplace Mall was not a new IKEA, but perhaps the news is as big in terms of what it may do for the mall.
“This will be transformative,” Paul Wilmot, president of Wilmorite, which owns the mall, said. “It will allow us to have a spike in tenants who are interested in this center which we have seen across the country when major medical services move into a shopping center.”
URMC’s Orthopaedics and Physical Performance Center will occupy 330,000 square feet of space and it’s estimated it will bring in 240,000 visits a year.
Wilmot can’t deny its the shot in the arm Marketplace Mall needs.
“You’ve had the Amazon phenomenon which also created convenient shopping… I have four young children and they want to come to the mall,” Wilmot said. “So I don’t think retail is dead, but it is certainly changing.”
Retailers are feeling it more than ever this year.
“Foot traffic has dropped significantly over the last year… especially with some of the anchors [stores] pulling out so that plays big, big, big factor,” Todd Mascho, who manages the Shoe Dept. store, said.
Schultz says he sees an even bigger and brighter future for the local economy.
“We’ve been laying out where we can see future things. As you start to get people coming in from out of town, because we’ve re-zoned this to be mixed-use, you could put a hotel right attached to the mall. They could do a lot of other uses like that…it could revitalize this whole area,” Schultz said.
The surgical and outpatient center is scheduled to open in 2022. The entire facility opens in 2023.