Editor’s Letter: Postcard from San Fran

BOMA’s MOB conference has become the standard

Dear Reader:

As you read this edition of Healthcare Real Estate Insights™, the chances are good that you’re doing so in San Francisco while attending the 2013 BOMA International Medical Office Buildings & Healthcare Facilities Conference. If that’s not the case, wish you were here.

The fact is, even as the number of other, well-run healthcare real estate (HRE) conferences has grown over the years, BOMA’s MOB conference still has to be considered the granddaddy of them all, the one that got the ball rolling and that has grown along with the sector itself.

With more than 700 people most likely attending, BOMA’s MOB Conference has actually gotten almost as big as what has long been referred to as “Big BOMA,” or the annual BOMA International & Every Building Show. This year, that fine conference is in San Diego June 23-25.

HRE professionals who attended BOMA’s MOB conference before the sector really took off – say a decade ago and earlier, when it was a part of “Big BOMA” – have great stories to tell about the small, intimate crowds that would show up. One year, 2002 in fact, after a dedicated group of volunteers and BOMA staff members had stepped up their publicizing of the MOB portion of the conference, the crowd ended up being nearly double what was anticipated. Lorie Damon, then a new staff member of BOMA, had to ask the hotel to deliver dozens of additional chairs.

Even though the HRE sector itself has not grown as large as its big brother ­– the general office sector ­– in terms of total space, it’s certainly made gains in terms of the interest garnered from real estate investors large, small and institutional.

As a result, the annual sales volume of MOBs has steadily climbed from the year when BOMA’s MOB conference started taking off. In 2002, according to statistics from Real Capital Analytics (RCA) Inc., MOB sales volume for the year, which included transactions of more than $5 million, totaled $945 million. In 2012, the volume topped $5 billion.

As always, this year’s BOMA MOB conference has a great lineup of panel sessions Wednesday through Friday. But what also makes the conference enjoyable is seeing longtime friends and colleagues involved in the business. Plenty of deals get done over dinner or networking breaks – at HREI™ we often hear that numerous transactions originated at BOMA.

We’ll ultimately be writing about some of those deals, as well as other choice tidbits gleaned from the BOMA MOB conference, on our website and in future editions of HREI™. So if you are indeed reading this while at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, please stop by our booth and say hello.


John B. Mugford, Editor

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