Perfect build: Cooper’s new facility, which is helping transform the Moorestown Mall, is state-of-the-art and ahead-of-its-time

Cooper University Health Care is transforming what was once a Sears department store in the Moorestown Mall into a health care facility of the future.

The first time you realize that the new facility Cooper University Health Care is building at the Moorestown Mall is going to be state-of-the-art and ahead-of-its-time is when you’re looking at the area that soon will be a 100-yard Main Street-type corridor that dissects the ground floor of the three-story, 166,000-square-foot space.

It’s not just the potential of a wide-open corridor lined with local art and video message boards that will have information on Cooper and the history of the area, different styles of comfortable seating throughout that will feel anything like a typical waiting room, a café — or the fact that it will have entrances on both ends, an outside entrance that faces Route 38 and an inside entrance that connects to a mall that’s in the early stages of a massive transformation.

It’s the genius bar.

Officially, the system is calling it Cooper Connect — but it has been created in the image of Apple’s Genius Bar. It’s a place anyone, whether they are using the facility or not, can go to get questions answered about the MyCooper app — or any health and wellness app. 

The wide open corridor and reception area.

It’s meant to be a community wellness information center — and it’s just one of the numerous features Cooper officials discussed during a recent tour to update their progress of turning what was once a Sears department store into a health care facility of the future. 

The aim is to open the first floor of the facility after Thanksgiving.

Dr. Christine Winn, senior vice president of ambulatory operations and one of the key leaders of the facility, said the genius bar is an attempt to get people excited about all of the technology available for their health care and well-being.

“It’ll be a friendly person that can draw you in and help you with anything that you might need in terms of technology or Cooper services,” she said. “We’ve done a pilot with on our Voorhees campus and found people are very interested to know these kinds of things. Everybody assumes people know how to use apps; they don’t.

“It’s really our commitment for this campus to be a whole continuum of care, from well-being to diagnosis to treatment and then back to well-being. Because we don’t want to just be your partner when you’re sick. We want to be your partner in health as well.”


The first time you recognize that the new facility Cooper is building at the Moorestown Mall is unique is when you look at the more than 90 exam rooms on the first floor — all of which are built into pod-like areas of services. All of which look exactly the same.

Because they are.

The rooms, in an effort to ensure high quality and with the metrics to fit anywhere in this new buildout, were all constructed off-site (by union craftsman) in Pennsylvania. Holes for sinks, cabinets, outlets and everything else you could imagine were pre-cut.


Cooper University Health Care officials estimate that they will need 200 employees to staff their new facility in Moorestown. They estimated half will come from existing facilities and half will be new.

Cooper officials said there will be approximately 60-70 physicians, half of which will be new to the system. Cooper is only relocating one existing facility, a two-person practice currently located in Maple Shade.

Megan Lamontagne, an assistant project manager from Pure Project Management, explained it this way.

“They essentially came as a four-wall partition box that was shipped in from North Philadelphia,” she said. “They have a special machine that allows them to make precise cuts. And they basically repeat that process, which helped with the speed and the quality.”

When put together, Winn said they help create a new concept.

“The thing that’s different about this than our other centers is that we’ll have 26 different specialties working all together,” she said. “There will be these collaboration rooms with 20 exam rooms that surround them.”

There will be smaller work areas for practitioners to collaborate or to make tele-visits. And there will be a big, family-style work area so that there could be cross-pollination of all the health care workers, Winn said.

Among other things, the first floor of the facility will handle visits related to cancer, cardiac care, orthopedics — and any type of preoperative testing, Winn said.

The second floor, which Cooper aims to open in early 2024, will feature larger-than-normal operating rooms.

“We made everything very flexible and adaptable, because we were thinking about where health care is now and then planning for the future — 10 years, 15 years forward,” Winn said. “We made the operating rooms a little bit larger than we needed to, but it’s to accommodate what we don’t know what the technology is going to be.”

The rooms are bigger, but they also are smarter. The booms (the consoles that so many of the machines plug into) hang down from the ceiling and are easily moveable. This allows the doctors to rearrange the beds and equipment as needed, based on the procedure.

“Everything will be integrated,” Winn said. 


The first time you understand how the new facility Cooper is building at the Moorestown Mall is ahead of its time is when you hear about how the specialties were selected. This is a modern-day, data-driven project.

A rendering of the reception area.

“We looked at a service area of about 18 ZIP codes that are around the Moorestown Mall area, and we looked at which of those patients we’re already serving — and we then looked at the specialties that are needed,” Winn said. “That’s where we came up with the 26 specialties that are going to be here at the Moorestown campus.”

This data, Winn explained, is a reason that treatment for esophageal cancer will be a priority here; the data has shown there is a preponderance of cases in the area.

Co-CEO Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli said Cooper broke down the data even further. Studies nationwide have shown the distances patients are willing to travel for care — shorter for a primary care visit; longer to see a specialist.

“Every specialty has its own radius that we know patients will travel,” he said. “So, we know there’s enough demand here. Enough radiuses overlap to tell us this is a great spot.”

It’s why Mazzarelli is confident the facility — which Cooper expects to handle 600-800 patients a day when it’s fully operational — will ramp up quickly.

That will do two more things.

One, Mazzarelli said, is that it will improve lag time within the system. Lag time (another metric) is the time between which a patient reaches out for service and actually gets seen.

The second: It will create more opportunity for care at Cooper’s flagship location in Camden.

The transformation

Cooper University Health Care officials said they needed to add miles of electrical and plumbing infrastructure to help transform an outdated Sears anchor at the Moorestown Mall into a modern health care facility. What they took out may have been more symbolic.

The escalators — every Sears had them — and the portrait studio.

Dr. Christine Winn, senior vice president of ambulatory operations and one of the key leaders of the facility, said the crews got a kick out of the some of the photo backdrops that were left behind.

“Everything you needed for a picture with Santa,” she said.

“Every year, there are more and more surgeries that you don’t have to do in the hospital, you can do in a surgery center like this,” Mazzarelli said. “That frees us up to do the tertiary care surgeries in Camden that we’re the only ones in South Jersey that can do.

“And it frees up our ambulatory centers to serve the people of Camden.”

The data also determined what the facility will not have: urgent care. Those patients will be better served at a location in Cinnaminson, Cooper officials said.


The first time you realize the new facility Cooper is building at the Moorestown Mall does not have any resemblance to its previous life as a Sears store is when you take your first step inside.

Cooper officials, who admitted they were pleasantly surprised when they saw just how big the floor plate was once they moved everything out, said it’s a dream location for any number of reasons, starting with a location (it’s near Interstate 295, Route 38 and Route 73) and the fact it has plenty of parking.

Co-CEO Kevin O’Dowd said the site made sense from Day One.

“We were in the market for significant Burlington County expansion — and then, the opportunity here aligned perfectly with our interest and timing,” he said.

A rendering of the mall entrance to Cooper Health’s new state-of-the-art facility.

O’Dowd said the community has welcomed Cooper with open arms. They had a ceremony when the first pod came in.

“We’re obviously a very known entity that serves a lot of the existing residents, so the idea of us building an anchor health care institution in their town was welcomed,” he said.

O’Dowd said the Cooper board has been on board from the start, too.

“They share our vision,” he said.

That vision is a whole new mall.

While Cooper’s arrival has led to a few more leases — and the construction crew has meant more dollars for restaurants — the grand plan for the mall is to create 400 units of housing in the next two to three years. This is a total transformation.

But not necessarily a unique one.

“Repurposing malls for health care is a growing concept around the country,” Mazzarelli said. “In fact, we’re not the only Sears that’s being used.

“It makes sense with retail struggling. This is a really good repurposing of mall property, because malls are where the people are — and people want to get care closer to where they live.”

For Cooper, which owns the property, it’s a key step in the efforts to provide more care for more people in South Jersey — and beyond.

“Cooper has evolved into an elite academic medical system the last five to seven years,” O’Dowd said. “We now have patients from 50 states and 35 countries.

“The demand for Cooper has grown to a level that continued expansion is warranted. This is not the end of our expansion.”

Dr. Christine Winn, senior vice president of ambulatory operations at Cooper University Health Care, middle, along with Cooper co-CEOs Kevin O’Dowd, left, and Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli inside the system’s new health care facility in Moorestown.

Local look

Dr. Christine Winn, senior vice president of ambulatory operations at Cooper University Health Care and one of the key leaders in the creation of a new health care facility in Moorestown, said the building will have statues of nipper dogs near the entrances.

And while some feel the dogs — a longtime symbol of RCA — is a nod toward Cooper’s roots in Camden, Winn explained nipper dogs have a long history in Moorestown, too. There are statues all over town.

“It’s part of our community effort to make sure that people know that we recognize that we’re here in Moorestown.”

Conversation Starter

Reach Cooper University Health Care at: or call 800-826-6737.