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ST. LOUIS, MO-SSM Health Care St. Louis recently sold a portfolio of 10 medical office buildings here for about $40 million, a source at SSM tells GlobeSt.com. The new owner is a joint venture of Lillibridge, a Chicago-based private company that invests exclusively in the healthcare-related real estate, and Heitman, the Chicago-based real estate investment management firm.The 90% occupied portfolio totals 455,267 sf of rentable space, including one building that is under construction and 50% preleased, a source at Lillibridge tells GlobeSt.com. SSM Healthcare occupies about 40% of the space, according to the source.Lillibridge principal Todd Lillibridge tells GlobeSt.com the acquisition is nothing new for his company, which owns or manages 8.5 million sf in about 200 facilities nationwide that house some 6,000 physicians. “This is what our business is all about,” he says. “We are about doing business with nonprofit hospitals; either acquiring existing medical office buildings or developing new ones and outpatient facilities.”Lillibridge says his company owns about 60% of the space it manages and manages the rest on a fee basis. “We own a lot of space on ground leases, which is how hospitals maintain control,” he says. “We can’t just put anybody in the buildings; they must adhere to hospital policies and not compete.”SSM Health Care-St. Louis is the second-largest healthcare system in the city, with seven hospitals, 2,000 staff physicians and 8,600 employees. Its parent organization, SSM Health Care, also based in St. Louis, owns, operates and manages hospitals and nursing homes in four states: Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. A source at SSM tells GlobeSt.com the transaction with Lillibridge was a way for the hospital to access capital for growth. “Most of these buildings are 25 to 30 years old; they were built back when medical office buildings were prominent on hospital campuses and companies like Lillibridge didn’t exist,” she says. “It just makes economic sense to free up capital while getting out of a business we are not in, real estate.”All but two of the medical buildings (based in the suburbs surrounding St. Louis) sold to Lillibridge are on SSM campuses in the Greater St Louis area. The portfolio includes: three on-campus buildings at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights; two on-campus buildings at SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton; two on-campus buildings at SSM St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles; one on-campus building at SSM St. Joseph Hospital West in Lake Saint Louis, and; two off-campus properties, one in O’Fallon and one in St. Peters. This acquisition is Lillibridge’s second foray into the St. Louis market. Lillibridge recently acquired a portfolio of buildings from Borgess Health Alliance, a member of Ascension Health, in Kalamazoo, MI. Lillibridge also recently acquired the assets of Mediplex Medical Building Corp. (MMBC) of Plano, TX. To help assist its growth, Lillibridge also recently signed an agreement with VHA Inc., a national alliance of leading nonprofit healthcare organizations based in Irving, TX. As part of the agreement, Lillibridge will offer its full-service real estate capabilities to VHA’s 2,200 member healthcare organizations.

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