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Outpatient Projects: An MOB project that was worth the risk

Seavest did its homework and is now leasing its converted MOB in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO – Embarking on any type of commercial real estate (CRE) project in San Francisco can be a difficult task fraught with risk, be it for a new ground-up development or the repurposing of an existing building to a new use.

Gaining the necessary approvals for CRE projects – a process known in California as “entitlement” – is notoriously challenging in this city of activists. The process – if successful at all – can take many months or even years to complete, while land and building costs continue to rise. A company proposing a project in San Francisco must do a thorough job of underwriting and due diligence up front, and must have the capabilities and persistence needed to see the process through.

It sure looks as if that’s what White Plains, N.Y.-based Seavest Healthcare Properties LLC has accomplished with its first-ever project in San Francisco: a repurposing and rebranding of an older, seven-story, 119,262 square foot office building at 939 Ellis St. into a modernized outpatient medical facility.

“I would say this is the first time we’ve really taken real entitlement risk on a project,” David Braunstein, VP of acquisitions for Seavest tells Healthcare Real Estate Insights.

But it was a calculated risk and the company’s subsequent nine months of hard work has paid off. The San Francisco Planning Commission voted unanimously on March 7 to approve Seavest’s application for a health services conditional use authorization for the building, clearing with way for the medical conversion.

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