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DENVER-Medical office building development in the US keeps rolling along despite the recession. It’s been widely reported that medical office properties are maintaining their occupancy and performing better than general office buildings; in the development arena, new medical office buildings continue to spring up despite the virtual standstill in general office construction.

Among the recent examples of new projects in the medical office sector are a project by White Plains, NY-based Seavest Inc. to build two medical office buildings totaling 250,000 square feet in Denver and projects by San Diego-based Pacific Medical Buildings to develop three projects totaling 148,000 square feet in Southern California.

The two new Seavest buildings, which the White Plains, NY-based company is developing in a joint venture with Aardex LLC, will both be Platinum LEED-certified and will be developed for St. Anthony Hospital, with Seavest as the majority owner. John Winer, executive vice president of Seavest, notes that this is the first project in the Denver area for the company. Ben Weeks, executive principal at Aardex, describes the Platinum LEED designations as “a considerable step forward in the future of medical office buildings.”

The new Seavest-Aardex buildings will be developed on a St. Anthony campus now under construction that will include a new facility for St. Anthony Central Hospital, OrthoColorado Hospital (an orthopedic specialty hospital), and other outpatient and wellness services that are in the planning stages. Winer says that the medical buildings will complement the new hospital by providing “state-of-the-art space necessary for critical hospital departments and medical offices for the physician community.” The project will also grow the national portfolio of on-campus medical office buildings for Seavest, which is working with Centum Health Properties as its leasing and transaction consultant for the new buildings.

The first building will be a four-story, 100,000-square-foot facility. Construction is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2010. The second building will be either five or six stories and between 125,000 and 150,000 square feet. Because of their advanced LEED status, the energy costs for the buildings are projected to be 40% less than for a traditional MOB.

Seavest, established in 1981, is an investment management firm that provides capital for the development of new medical office buildings and acquires, and asset manages healthcare real estate assets. The firm controls a portfolio of about two million square feet of medical office space through three healthcare real estate investment funds.

The new projects that Pacific Medical Buildings recently unveiled, two in Southern California and one in Northern California, include three new medical office buildings and a parking structure, according to James Rohan, senior vice president of development for the firm. Two of the MOBs will be Silver LEED-certified and will be 100% anchored by large medical groups. The third will be jointly owned by physician investors and the hospital system.

The project that will be owned by the physician investors and the hospital is in the Southern California city of Yorba Linda, where PMB was selected to develop an 88,000-square-foot MOB for the St. Jude Heritage Medical Group. In addition to primary care and multi-specialty medical offices, the building will house imaging and urgent care centers. Construction is scheduled to start in November of 2009.

Another project, scheduled to start construction early in 2011, will be a 60,000-square-foot MOB and a 320-space parking structure in San Diego that will be developed in conjunction with the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, which will be the owner and sole tenant in the building.

The third new medical office building is planned for the Northern California community of Castro Valley on the campus of Eden Medical Center, which is owned by the Sutter Health System. Construction is slated to start on the 80,000-square- foot facility in 2011. PMB will construct, own and manage the new MOB.

In addition to the three new projects, PMB was recently awarded a contract to manage eight medical office buildings in Louisiana comprising 400,000 square feet. This contract brings the company’s total amount of managed medical office space to more than three million square feet across seven states. PMB owns and manages more than 44 facilities totaling approximately three million square feet with more than 7,000 structured parking stalls, and has nine more projects under development that will total 720,000 square feet with 2,000 structured parking stalls.

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