Medical office building investor Healthcare Trust makes 5th purchase in Charleston

Scott Peters is a former Mount Pleasant resident who now runs Arizona-based Healthcare Trust of America.

One of the biggest investors in medical office space in the Charleston region has made another acquisition.

Healthcare Trust of America Inc. disclosed the purchase of the nearly 40,000-square-foot building at 8992 University Boulevard in North Charleston last week as part of quarterly update to shareholders.

The company bought the University Place Professional Center in two separate transactions totaling about $10.6 million, county land records show.

The purchase gives the Arizona-based company a total of 253,000 square feet of medical office space in five buildings in the region. It said it has invested a total of about $65 million locally since 2010.

The latest purchase is near Charleston Southern University. It’s occupied by the Medical University of South Carolina.

In all, Healthcare Trust said spent $226 million in the second quarter in Charleston and three other markets: Boston, Indianapolis and Raleigh. All of the properties are on hospital or university campuses or are aligned with a leading health-care system, the company said.

“Our acquisitions over the last several quarters underline our business strategy to focus on accumulating critical mass in key markets,” CEO Scott D. Peters said in a statement. “Establishing scale in these markets allows our in-house asset management and leasing platform to drive earnings growth, maximize expense efficiencies, and create long-term value for shareholders.”

Peters is former Mount Pleasant resident who previously was an executive at Charleston-based golf course investment company.

Elsewhere locally, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Healthcare Trust owns: the Tides Medical Arts Building and East Cooper Medical Arts Center, both in Mount Pleasant; Roper Medical Plaza on James Island; and Cannon Park Place in downtown Charleston.

In recent years, medical space has emerged as a specialized real estate asset class all its own. The sector began to blossom during the last recession. Health care-related real estate weathered the prolonged downturn better than most industries, ensuring stable rent streams for landlords. That prompted income-seeking investors to take a harder look at companies that owned medical space for dividend payments.

Other trends are giving the industry a lift include the growing senior population and an increase in outpatient medical procedures and patient visits.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.