WILTON — Saratoga Hospital has moved more than a hundred support staff as well as two clinical programs into the old Sears space at the Wilton Mall.
The move frees up space for inpatient beds and acute care services at the hospital’s main campus on Church Street in Saratoga Springs.
It’s part of a strategy to place services that require emergency, intensive and/or around-the-clock care at the main hospital, moving other services off-site as necessary to other locations that Saratoga Hospital operates.
“We have more than 20 locations throughout the Saratoga region, but only one place — our hospital campus — is equipped with the technology and expertise to meet the needs of our most critically ill patients,” Saratoga Hospital President and CEO Angelo Calbone said in a news release Monday.
Sears announced in November 2018 that it would be closing its Wilton Store. The hospital and mall owner Macerich in 2019 announced their plan to convert 56,000 square feet of vacant retail space to its new use.
The bulk of the space is allocated to Saratoga Hospital’s information technology and heath information services personnel, with smaller areas for the surgical podiatry program and the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine. Additional space remains available for future uses.
The Wilton Mall location is the third where Saratoga Hospital offers comprehensive outpatient services. The others are Saratoga Medical Park at Malta and the hospital’s Wilton campus, across Route 50 from the Wilton Mall.
The transition of mall space from retail to non-retail uses has been a minor trend in the mall industry for years, as mall operators struggled with the rise of online retail. Such a shift in use of space brings new rent revenue to a mall and increases foot traffic, potentially benefiting the retailers that remain on site.
In the Capital Region, ViaPort Rotterdam added an entertainment venue, an aquarium and a large office space for the state Department of Taxation to its mix.
Colonie Center has a Whole Foods supermarket. Wilton Mall has the Health Living Market & Cafe.
Mike Shaffer, senior manager at Wilton Mall, alluded to the trend in the news release: “Transforming the former Sears box into this vibrant new use is part of our innovative approach to serving as a true town center for this community.”