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Cover Story: IRA Capital rises to the occasion

Already an active MOB investor, the Irvine, Calif.-based real estate private equity firm has really stepped it up during the pandemic

By John B. Mugford

The principals and founders of IRA Capital are (from left to right) Jay H. Gangwal, Amer H. Malas, Amer F. Kasm, Mohannad S. Malas and Samir M. Patel, shown here in front of the firm’s Del City, Okla., community hospital occupied by INTEGRIS Health. (Photo courtesy of IRA Capital)

Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Irvine, Calif.-based IRA Capital had been making a name for itself in the medical office building (MOB) and healthcare real estate (HRE) investment sectors.

After all, since its launch in 2010 by five principals and co-founders in order to capitalize on investment opportunities resulting from the dislocation in the capital markets during the Great Recession, IRA has invested more than $2 billion in acquiring more than 6.5 million square feet of commercial real estate in 26 states. About half of those acquisitions have comprised HRE facilities, with the company putting even more of an emphasis on the product type in recent years.

And yet, although the firm had been gaining recognition as an MOB investor, it has substantially increased its acquisition activity in 2020, continuing to make purchases since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it is becoming even more well known at a time when sales of MOBs have slowed considerably and a number of investors are on the sidelines, most notably some – but certainly not all – of the publicly traded, healthcare-focused real estate investment trusts (REITs).

During the first month or two of the pandemic, IRA made six medical office acquisitions totaling about $150 million after many businesses were shut down, stay-at-home orders were issued in most states and elective surgeries were postponed, arguably making MOB purchases a bit more risky.

Perhaps even more impressively, the firm has,

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