The population growth in the Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) can be felt daily by residents and visitors alike. While the ever-increasing traffic provides challenges for the road infrastructure, the real estate sector has benefited from above-average increases in property values.
On the commercial side, not all submarkets have experienced positive growth. The Covid related trend to work from home certainly lowered demand for general office space. However, even here there is a bright spot: the medical market has been exempted from such downward pressure, and in fact, demand for healthcare office space continued to increase, unencumbered by the effects of Covid.
A growing number of residents brings with it a growing demand for healthcare services. Local hospital organizations like Atrium, Tenet, and Novant are reacting with expansion plans to increase their presence and improve their footprint in the area. However, additional healthcare offices also require additional healthcare workers, and the nationwide shortage of such workers limits their availability. Now two prominent health organizations – Wake Forest University and Atrium Health – are responding with their plan to educate young physicians and other healthcare professionals, and their new medical school will be right in the heart of the city.
According to the Wake Forest website, the accreditation approval was received earlier this year. The campus will be located on a 20-acre property in midtown Charlotte, at the corner of South McDowell Street and Baxter Street, next to US-277.
The facility will be named Wake Forest University School of Medicine – Charlotte. Not only will it be the city’s first medical school, but it is envisioned to become “the nucleus for collaborative efforts that will bring about new innovations in health technology and research, much like the Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem….”.
The school will be in close proximity to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center, which is the health system’s main hospital, and which is currently undergoing renovation. The initial class of first-year medical students should be able to start in 2024.
Effects on the medical office market:
Demand in this sector continues to be supported by the general growth of the healthcare industry and by the consolidation of private practices.
In the Charlotte MSA, the new medical school is expected to further bolster this solid growth, and medical practices will be able to recruit staff more easily from the local pool of newly trained health professionals.
Commercial Real Estate Advisor