[IMGCAP(1)]SCOTTSDALE, AZ-Edge Commercial Real Estate Advisors has hung its shingle to focus on healthcare and medical real estate brokerage. The strategy ties a scientific approach into commercial real estate by combining scientists, technology experts and real estate veterans into a 16-person staff.

“Any time we spoke with a broker, no matter how long that person had been in the industry, the majority of recommendations on purchasing a property or leasing a space or breaking ground were based on gut instinct rather than hard facts,” Bryant Colman, Edge Commercial’s president, tells GlobeSt.com.

“Instead of making forecasts or suggestions on gut instinct or by looking in a rear-view mirror, we’re using scientific approaches in where real estate is headed.”

The shop has opened in a 6,000-sf office at Pima Center Parkway. Edge Commercial’s staff has access to proprietary and analytical software called “Property Informatics” or PI. The software collates information, models and schematics to help brokers and clients make real estate decisions based on scientific statistics, which is why Colman and [IMGCAP(2)]fellow founders CEO William F. Becker, Chief Technology Officer Shaung Liu and broker Robert Burnand decided to target medical and healthcare properties for PI’s first initiative.

Colman says it’s easy to point to measurable statistics to formulate strategy when it comes to healthcare real estate. “Healthcare follows trends that are similar to retail,” he explains. “It’s driven by demographics. It follows rooftops.”

Aging Baby Boomers and their moves to Sunbelt states means “the need for quality healthcare buildings is huge,” Colman says. “It’s a great asset class.”

The company’s goal is to close about $1.5 million in transactions and leases during the remainder of this year. Colman is optimistic that the team can boost the volume to $3.5 million to $4 million in 2009.

Colman says the plan is to build a consulting and advisory side at the same clip at which it is building the brokerage division. Once the product has been tested on healthcare real estate, Edge’s founders plan to roll it out to office, then to industrial product, with retail following a distant fourth. “Retail is the sophisticated area of real estate that’s done a pretty good job because it looks at traffic counts, household income and other statistics to make the decisions,” he adds.

Colman says the firm plans to take the show on the road, with other parts of Arizona and New Mexico in its sights in the next eight to nine months. And from there, it could be expanded to other markets too.