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Medical office product in San Diego delivers a remarkable amount of stability. The asset class is in limited supply with limited new construction coming online but tremendous demand and rising rents. As a result, the market is attracting investors from across the country. Chicago-based MBRE Healthcare recently purchased the 83,213-square-foot Excel Centre for $37.1 million. The property is anchored by Kaiser Permanente, and can be converted into a full medical office facility, which would command 20 to 25% premiums in rents. To find out more about the demand for medical office in San Diego, the players in the market and why medical office is such a popular asset classes, we sat down with Travis Ives, senior director of the healthcare practice group at Cushman & Wakefield and a broker on the deal, for an exclusive interview.

GlobeSt.com: Tell me about the investor demand for healthcare/medical office product in San Diego, and what is driving that demand? Travis Ives: A few things impact the way the medical office investors view San Diego. First, demographics are increasingly important as investors look to allocate funds to markets with a strong underlying economy and expected population growth, both of which San Diego has. Second, San Diego has historically been a market with relatively high barriers to entry. There is a limited supply of existing medical office product and the cost of new construction requires a significant rent premium. This provides a level of comfort to medical office investors knowing it is unlikely the market will become oversupplied with space and therefore rents should remain stable or increase over time.

GlobeSt.com: What does the investor pool look like for this product, and have you seen it change at all over the last year? Ives: Institutional-quality medical office investment opportunities have been few and far between in San Diego. When the most appealing ones have come to market, they’ve attracted some of the most aggressive institutional buyers. Historically San Diego’s medical office inventory was locally owned and operated. Over the past 5-10 years we’ve seen an influx of national buyers that have bid up opportunities beyond what the local investor pool would pay. We now have some of the largest medical offices investors in the country that own and operate buildings in San Diego County (Welltower, Ventas, HCP, MBRE, Anchor Health Properties, Montecito, LaSalle). These buyers are a mix of public and private money, but all are specialized in medical office investments and look at San Diego as a safe long-term bet.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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