IRET Sells MOB Portfolio for $368M

The disposition of the approximately 1 million-square-foot, 25-property collection of medical office buildings marks the company’s final step toward its transformation into a pure-play multifamily REIT.

2800 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis
2800 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis

IRET set out to remake itself as a pure-play multifamily REIT three years ago, and now the goal is within close reach. IRET recently closed the sale of its approximately 1 million-square-foot medical office building portfolio to Harrison Street Real Estate LLC in a $367.7 million transaction.

“The sale of the medical office building portfolio is a major milestone for IRET representing the final step necessary to transform us into a focused multifamily company,” Mark Decker Jr., President & CEO of IRET, said in a prepared statement.  

The completion of the transaction comes just one month after IRET revealed it had entered into an agreement to sell 28 healthcare assets and an additional healthcare tenant-occupied commercial property. The purchase and sale agreement was altered prior to closing, resulting in the disposition of 25 of the properties—including the 67,000-square-foot MOB at 2800 Chicago Ave. in Minneapolis, according to a Finance & Commerce article—and a deal to sell the remaining three assets to Harrison Street for $32.4 million over the next six months. The commercial asset that was removed from the portfolio will be incorporated into IRET’s remaining group of commercial assets designated for sale.

IRET has made great strides in revamping its holdings in a short period of time. Over the last 18 months, the company pocketed a whopping $750 million on the disposition of not only healthcare-related properties, but other commercial and non-core assets as well.

THE RIGHT MOVE AT THE RIGHT TIME

Overall, the commercial real estate market continues to thrive, but IRET has its reasons for narrowing its focus down to one sector. And industry experts believe the company is on the right track.

“Yes, I do believe that moving to a multifamily-focused strategy is a good idea for IRET,” Drew Babin, senior research analyst with financial services firm Robert W. Baird & Co., told Commercial Property Executive. “The REIT’s focus in past years was spread thin across several property types, and we feel there is a major opportunity for new management to capture a margin growth opportunity within the multifamily segment as it implements new operating best practices across its portfolio.”

It was the right play for IRET and, in terms of the disposition of its MOB portfolio, it was the right time as well. Babin added, “Pricing trends in the medical office space have been generally favorable with a deep buyer pool, and we believe IRET was wise to execute its MOB sale ahead of potential increases in interest rates.”

IRET plans to use the proceeds from the MOB portfolio sale to do a little shopping. The company will target Minnesota’s Twin Cities, home to a segment of its corporate offices, Denver and other key strategic locations for multifamily acquisitions.

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