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Firm Pursues a Niche in Medical Real Estate

Wednesday, June 17 2009 12:00 AM


The Wichita Eagle

A Wichita commercial real estate firm has jumped full tilt into a new niche: developing and brokering medical real estate.

Brad Saville's Landmark Commercial Real Estate has opened the city's first medical division out of the brokerage office at 156 N. Emporia.

The goal is a one-stop shop for medical office building development, leasing and investment -- everything from financing to site and contractor selection. Landmark agent Austin Kinzle coordinates the division.

"We kept hearing from doctors who wanted to expand their practice," Saville said. "Maybe they owned a building and wanted to lease a building.

"Maybe they don't want to be in the real estate business. They're making too much money in health care. Sometimes they get into the real estate side with partners and find out ownership isn't all it's cracked up to be. But if they have an investor, it's 'Please buy our building, and we'll lease the building back.'

"So we kept running into more and more clients needing assistance -- a builder, an investor, someone to select a site for them."

Saville, Kinzle and new agent Lewis Kelley, who brings experience in health care management, are staffing the division.

Landmark spent about six months marketing the division to prospective clients. They've devoted a portion of the company Web site,, to medical properties.

The centerpiece of those offerings this month is a sale/leaseback deal for the Abay Neuroscience Medical Plaza at 3223 N. Webb Road, listed for $9.74 million. The 29,807-square-foot building adjacent to the Kansas Spine Hospital has a variety of medical tenants.

The medical real estate business is a growth industry in Wichita, said Roger Weast, president of J.P. Weigand & Sons, Landmark's primary competition in the field.

"There's been a tremendous amount of medical growth over the past few years," Weast said.

"It may have tailed off a bit recently, but it's definitely been strong. There's hospitals growing and expanding, doctors moving around, all these surgery centers and specialized offices."

Weast said his company hasn't discussed forming a separate medical division.

"We've got a lot of agents who specialize in different types of commercial sales, and a lot of them deal with medical," Weast said.

Kelley said the migration of medical services into the suburbs is driving much of that local growth.

"Other doctors with their practices went to smaller satellite offices in different areas of town rather than coming downtown or (going to) a different group of 30 to 40 doctors," Kelley said.

"Now a lot of them are talking about it, breaking up and going into satellite offices."

Medical real estate needs are different from some other commercial real estate needs, said representatives of the Wichita Clinic and the Medical Practice Association at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita.

"It's just designed differently," said Gary Bue, Wichita Clinic's director of clinical operations. "The flow of patients and the services you're going to provide direct how it's going to be laid out."

The Medical Practice Association earlier this year bought 105 acres on the northeast corner of K-96 and Greenwich for a health care and commercial development. The association worked with an agency to find the site and is working with an architectural firm on master planning of it.

Lorene Valentine, executive director of the association, said the practice, which is independent of the medical school, looked at lots of built property "but they were not to the configuration or the location or the size."

Bue said the Wichita Clinic has worked with several agencies to find land for new locations but usually proceeds on its own once land is purchased.

"The services that Landmark's providing -- it looks fairly comprehensive, everything from just obtaining the land, design-build, that type of thing," he said.

Picture Below: (L-R) Austin Kinzle, Lewis Kelley and Brad Saville stand in front of their $10 million medical listing, Abay Neurosurgery. Saville's Landmark Commercial Real Estate company is getting a medical division off the ground to broker and develop health care facilities for doctors and other groups.

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