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Brookfield Leases Parking Lot Space At 73 U.S. Malls For COVID Testing


As the spread of the coronavirus hits new and terrifying heights, one major mall landlord has cut a deal to host testing sites.

Brookfield Properties announced on Monday that it has agreed to lease space in the parking lots of 73 of its malls to Collection Sites, a subsidiary of QuestCap, for "pop-up" coronavirus testing labs. The leases cover spaces measuring 50 feet by 100 feet and are set to last an initial period of four months.

Unlike coronavirus tests that are currently being given out for free at public health centers in every state along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, Collection Sites' tests will cost $59 to $139 and use the RT-PCR method, which can deliver results in 24 hours. Depending on availability, the sites will also aim to offer antibody and antigen testing, according to the announcement.

The 73 sites will be spread across 35 states, with an initial emphasis on California, Arizona and Texas, with the first opening in November. Each site is expected to be able to carry out 150 tests per day, with results analyzed by San Diego-based Alcala Testing & Analysis Services. Collection Sites claimed in its announcement that all tests "can be administered with insurance coverage options."

The use of retail parking lots as coronavirus testing sites was touted as a possibility in the early days of the U.S. outbreak, but initial movement was slow to take hold. By late May, CVS Health and Rite Aid had begun to roll out drive-thru testing.

Though Brookfield adding testing capability to its malls could provide the hope of increased traffic, it has already had to make deep cuts to its retail department as a result of the pandemic's impact on shopping malls.