Companies (March 2006)

First Colony stakes claim to healthcare



By Murray W. Wolf


Charlotte, N.C.-based First Colony Corp. might be the latest commercial real estate firm to expand its healthcare capabilities, but it’s no newcomer to the industry.

The 33-year-old real estate and development firm recently announced the formation of a healthcare affiliate: First Colony Healthcare LLC. The new unit is based in Charlotte and has opened a satellite office in Nashville, Tenn., the nation’s largest concentration of healthcare services companies. 

First Colony Healthcare “will focus on the development of high-end medical facilities ranging from medical office buildings to ambulatory surgery centers to long-term acute care hospitals,” according to a news release.

First Colony says it has developed more than 4.4 million square feet of medical office space and manages 50 medical tenants in more than 30 buildings in Charlotte alone. Company officials say the new affiliate will better enable the firm to expand its business in the fast-growing healthcare real estate sector.

First Colony tapped two experienced healthcare real estate developers to run the operation: Dennis Norvet and Thomas V. “Tommy” Catone.

Mr. Norvet will head the firm’s Nashville office as senior vice president of First Colony Healthcare. With more than 18 years experience in medical real estate and development, he is a familiar face in Nashville medical real estate circles. He was formerly a senior vice president of business development for the Nashville office of Centex Rodgers Inc., the construction management unit of Dallas-based Centex Corp. (NYSE: CTX), where he helped to launch an in-house healthcare real estate development subsidiary. More recently, he was a Nashville-based vice president with Indianapolis-based Lauth Property Group, one of the nation’s largest healthcare real estate developers.

Mr. Catone was named a principal with First Colony Healthcare. He will be located in Charlotte and will focus on healthcare opportunities throughout the Southeast. He has more than 25 years experience in real estate and construction. Like Mr. Norvet, he was formerly a vice president with Lauth. He was also a regional partner with Choate Construction Co., and started and ran TVA associates, a consulting and real estate development firm.

Easter comes

early for Hart

Freeland Roberts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Hart Freeland Roberts Inc. (HFR) and Easter & Mason Healthcare Consulting Corp. (EMhc) have merged.

Both companies are based in Nashville. HFR is an architectural and engineering firm with a strong emphasis on healthcare design. EMhc is a consultant to hospitals and healthcare systems..

EMhc becomes a separate department in HFR’s Healthcare Division, with James G. Easter Jr., president and CEO of EMhc, becoming a vice president of HFR and director of planning for the firm’s healthcare division.

The two firms have worked together on various projects since the mid-1990s, including joint master planning projects for hospitals in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Texas. HFR officials say the merger will make the duo an even more effective and coordinated single source for its clients, with expanded resources and improved efficiency.

HFR, which traces its roots to 1910, is staffed by more than 85 professionals and is licensed in 30 states. The firm also maintains offices in Jackson, Tenn., and Kansas City, Mo.

EMhc, founded in 1995 by Mr. Easter and R. Eugene Mason, provided consulting services that addressed the facility and capital asset needs of clients that range from small, rural hospitals to larger tertiary and specialty care clinical programs. It has completed more than 600 healthcare-related projects and planning studies worldwide.

Mr. Easter has been involved in healthcare architecture and planning since 1970. He led the healthcare divisions of two large architectural and engineering firms, and later served as director of facilities planning for the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. In 1989 he joined the facilities development division of Quorum Health Resources in Nashville and remained with the company until the founding of EMhc in 1995.

Mr. Mason, who served as vice president for EMhc, will not be joining the combined operations, but will continue his architectural practice in Prescott, Ariz.

Before they formed EMhc, Mssrs. Easter and Mason were partners in an architectural practice in Houston.

Trammell Crow

signs services

deal with VHA

DALLAS – ……..Trammell Crow Healthcare Services (TCHS), the healthcare business unit of Trammell Crow Co. (NYSE: TCC), has entered into a national real estate services agreement with VHA Inc., a health care alliance that serves over 25 percent of the nations not-for-profit healthcare organizations. 

TCHS announced last month that it will provide services to VHA member institutions that may include: clinical facilities management; clinical project management; medical office building (MOB) development, leasing, and management; development services; and transaction management services. 


Dallas-based TCHS is one of the largest providers of real estate services to the healthcare industry, with more than 21 million square feet of facilities under management and more than $1 billion under development. Trammell Crow Co. also recently created a private fund, Partners Health Trust, in partnership with a major state retirement system, in order to develop and own medical office buildings or other medically related facilities affiliated with community hospital systems.  The fund currently owns or has in the development process over $250 million of medically related assets. 

“We started our healthcare industry initiative just six years ago, and it is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing businesses in our company.  We consider the healthcare business to be one of the key bets for our company,” Bob Sulentic, chairman and chief executive officer of Trammell Crow Co., said in a prepared statement.

VHA, Inc. delivers supply chain management services and supports the formation of regional and national member networks that enable members to work together to solve common clinical and operational challenges.  


 The relationship with Trammell Crow Healthcare Services will enable VHA members to effectively and responsibly addresslarge capital asset projects that have considerable impact on members real estate and facilities,” said Niklaus Fincher, senior director of Capital Asset Services for VHA.

For the Record

McShane Construction Corp. of Rosemont, Ill., has started construction of the five-story, 172,000 square foot Lakeshore Medical Center, adjacent to Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. When completed in early 2007, the MOB is slated to include multiple medical suites, a surgery center and a Walgreens drugstore. Howard Koop of Koop Management is providing development services on behalf of Wellness Associates and Weiss Memorial Hospital, the owners of Lakeshore. Gelick Associates of Chicago is the project architect… Rendina Cos. of West Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., says it has closed on a $12.25 million construction loan with Washington Mutual for a three-story, 75,000 square foot MOB it is developing on St. Rose Dominican Hospital’s San Martin campus in Henderson, Nev., southwest of Las Vegas. St. Rose, part of the Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) system, broke ground on the San Martin campus in February 2004. The four-story, full-service acute care hospital with 111 private rooms is scheduled to be completed this year. Washington Mutual has completed more than $100 million dollars worth of loan transactions with Rendina Cos., according to Robert Mueller, a Washington Mutual vice president. The project is being handled by Rendina’s La Jolla, Calif., office… Plaza Cos. of Peoria, Ariz., says its fourth quarter leasing activity totaled more than $3.4 million, with 41,755 square feet of medical, dental and office space leased during the quarter. Overall leasing activity in the Phoenix market was steady, according to the firm, with growing activity on the west side… Community Mercy Health Partners of Springfield, Ohio, has hired Dayton, Ohio-based Danis Building Construction Co. and McCarthy Building Cos. Inc., of St. Louis, as consultant managers for the hospital’s proposed  $300 million healthcare complex. The construction management team will oversee the construction of the proposed complex. Construction is slated to begin in mid-2007, with completion in late 2010. Phase one plans call for a hospital of more than 600,000 square feet and a 150,000 square foot MOB to be constructed on 45 acres in downtown  Springfield… McCarthy also recently got the nod for the $5.8 million renovation of Pointe Plaza at Carillon Senior LifeCare Community in Lubbock, Texas. Plans call for the renovation of a four-level, 24,000 square foot structure, plus the construction of 28 apartment homes and a 10,000 square foot addition. Tabula Rasa Architects of Zionsville, Ind., is the project architect. A groundbreaking is planned for this month, with completion slated for May 2007… McCarthy’s Southern California office was also recently chosen by Cottage Health Systems to build the $34.2 million Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Energy Center and the $11.3 million Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Pueblo Parking Structure II. The architect on the energy center project is LBL Architects of Marina Del Ray, Calif…. Arlington, Texas-based Ascension Group Architects is handling the design of the $52 million Patients Medical Center in Pasadena, Texas. The project, which broke ground recently, will be a medical/surgical acute-care hospital. The for-profit hospital is to be 70 percent owned by 98 physicians in Harris County, Texas, and is being developed and will be managed by Richardson, Texas-based Rockwall Hospitals Inc. It’s scheduled to open in February 2007… Fort Wayne, Ind.-based architectural firm Morrison Kattman and Menze has been chosen to design the new White County Memorial Hospital in Monticello, Ind. The $24 million 90,000 square foot replacement hospital, as well as a $6 million, 60,000 square foot MOB, are earmarked for a 38-acre site. Ground could be broken as soon as October… Schonsheck of Wixom, Mich., has been selected to design and build the 20,000 square foot Hamburg (Mich.) Professional Center. The multi-tenant MOB is to be complete this fall… DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA) has tabbed Barone Design Group and Sikes Group, both based in Houston, for the design and construction of four dialysis service centers in San Antonio and Houston… A joint venture of Paric Corp. and Barton Malow Co. is building the $75 million, five-story, 180,000 square foot, 72-bed Progress West HealthCare Center on 48 acres in O’Fallon, Mo. St. Louis-based Paric and Southfield, Mich.-based Barton Malow say the project will be completed next year. St. Louis-based HOK is the project architect… Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. was expected to close by early this year on the acquisition of Phoenix-based Summit BuildersWest Georgia Health System has selected the Atlanta office of McCarthy Building Cos. as the construction manager, the Washington office of Ellerbe Becket as the project architect and KLMK Group of Richmond, Va., as the program manager for the first phase of a $60 million expansion and renovation program. They will team with design and planning firms Morell & Associates of Northbrook, Ill., and Engberg Anderson Design Partnership Inc. of Milwaukee, who have worked out a planning and programming system for the project… Kaiser Permanente has selected Helmuth Obata and Kassabaum to be the architect for a new $200 million, 212-bed replacement hospital and parking structure in Redwood City, Calif…. Ernst & Ernst Building Contractors won two first place awards for construction excellence, including one for the Tri-County Eye Physicians & Surgeons Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) in Southampton, Pa. The work included the construction of a two-story, 12,000 square foot ASC and the renovation of an 8,000 square foot ophthalmology center. The awards were given by the Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors Inc. (ABC), a national association for the construction industry… Bremner Healthcare Real Estate and joint venture partner Duke Realty has opened a Miami office. Indianapolis-based Bremner said it has hired Christie Grays as business development director for Florida. Grays joins Bremner Healthcare from Codina Realty Services, where she specialized in local office properties… McGrath & Associates of St. Louis recently announced that it has completed a $2 million renovation and expansion project at Des Peres Hospital in St. Louis…

MedCapital Group of Dallas recently announced that it is providing $2.2 million in financing to a client for the acquisition and renovation of a 22,000 square foot medical office building (MOB) in New Jersey. The structure includes 85 percent loan-to-cost without any pre-leasing requirement… Leopardo Construction of Hoffman Estates, Ill., has completed three healthcare construction projects in Illinois. In Aurora, Leopardo completed the 9,000 square foot build-out of the Dreyer Medical Clinic’s gastrointestinal laboratory; in Glen Ellyn, the company completed the 5,300 square-foot renovation of the HealthTrack Sports Wellness Center; and Warrenville it has completed the 12,355 square foot Cornerstone Ambulatory surgical addition to Orthopedic Associates of DuPage’s medical offices… Summit Builders Construction Co. of Phoenix recently started preconstruction services for Flagstaff Healthpark in Flagstaff, Ariz., for CAVAN Real Estate Investments. Phase I will include three two-story, Class A MOBs totaling 60,000 square feet. The second phase will include a 330,000-square-foot, two-level parking structure and a 122,000-square-foot, two-story MOB. Patrick Hayes Architecture in Scottsdale, Ariz., is providing architectural services. All of the projects are slated for completion in summer 2007. q


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