The largest capital project in the history of the University of Rochester started Thursday.
Work started on a 330,000-square foot orthopedic campus at The Marketplace Mall. The project, expected to cost $240 million, will take up an entire wing of the facility formerly anchored by Sears.
Jonathan Dower, Vice President of Leasing for Wilmorite, which owns the mall, said the project should bring thousands of people to the mall every month for outpatient visits and surgeries. That’s why lodging options are expected to be a part of future developments. He added that Marketplace’s location and access to highways made it attractive for the development.
“They will be pulling from a very large area. Not just western New York,” said Dower.
Orthopedics is one of the fastest-growing parts of the University of Rochester Medical Center. In a statement, URMC said that they’ve experienced “a 25% increase in orthopaedic surgery cases and a 60% increase in ambulatory visits over the past seven years.”
URMC also said that their largest orthopedics center, Brighton’s Clinton Crossings, sees about 17,000 patients a month. That entire practice is expected to move to Marketplace which will be three times its size. Other suburban locations in Victor, Webster, Greece, and Penfield will remain open.
Dower hopes this project brings people back to the mall in numbers like he remembers when he was a student at Rochester Institute of Technology in the 1990s.
“It always gets worse before it gets better. This is going to be an amazing project, and Rochester and Henrietta is going to be so proud of it,” said Dower. “I firmly believe that what we’re doing with the University of Rochester is right on point and is on the front side of the wave of what we’re going to see in a lot of mid-tier markets.”
About 100 orthopedics staffers are expected to start working in the facility in August. Dower said many more employees are expected to be phased in over the next few years.
Also under construction at Marketplace is what URMC describes as a multi-story patient care tower that will offer diagnostic imaging, clinic space, and other patient services. The tower is expected to open in 2023. “