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Companies & People: Steve Leathers returns to his roots

After a successful run as a broker, he has formed a new HRE investment firm

By John B. Mugford

Steve Leathers

Steve Leathers has made a strong name for himself in the healthcare real estate (HRE) sector during the past 16 years or so, both on the principal and brokerage sides of the business.

His name could become more prominent in coming years, as Mr. Leathers recently launched his own firm, Leathers Group, a private real estate investment manager based in Westchester County that’s focused on acquiring medical office buildings (MOBs) and other specialty HRE assets for a variety of investors.

Mr. Leathers was most recently a managing director with the Healthcare Capital Markets Group of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE: JLL), where from 2014 to 2020 he was involved in assignments totaling more than $5.6 billion.

He tells HREI that he has “spent the majority of my career on the principal side of commercial real estate … with 10 years at ARC Healthcare Trust,” which was acquired by Ventas Inc. (NYSE: VTR), “and Triple Net Properties, which became Grubb & Ellis Realty Investors. In these roles, I was (involved in) approximately $2 billion in property acquisitions in addition to debt placement and asset management assignments on behalf of private and institutional real estate investment vehicles.”

In launching the firm, Mr. Leathers has brought in two fellow commercial real estate and HRE veterans, Sean Leahy and Randy Beckman, as managing directors to support “robust platform growth.”

Mr. Leahy, who previously had asset management roles with three healthcare real estate investment trusts (REITs) sponsored by AR Global LLC as well as Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Healthcare Trust of America Inc. (NYSE: HTA), will focus on real estate program asset management and operations.

During his 35-year career, Mr. Beckman has “provided direct sales and marketing leadership for more than $2 billion of capital raised for public REITs and private investment programs,” according to a news release from Leathers Group. He will lead the firm’s sales and marketing efforts and assist broker-dealers and registered investment advisors to “source the best real estate solutions for their investors.”

We caught up with Mr. Leathers this week for a Q&A.

HREI: Steve, congratulations on the formation of your new firm. You are no longer on the brokerage side of healthcare real estate sector, but on the principal side. Can you tell us what the focus is, what type of investors you will be working with, and, for that matter all of what your firm does and how it works?

Leathers: The focus is on acquiring medical office building and other healthcare related facilities, including hospitals, dialysis, plasma, life science. Right now, we are not focused on seniors housing or skilled nursing. Leathers Group’s primary focus is to acquire high quality, healthcare, primarily medical office, investments. More specifically, we are looking for stabilized MOBs on or off hospital campuses that typically are: more than 85 percent occupied, single-tenant with 10-plus years (of lease term remaining) or multiple tenant with anchor tenants with seven-plus years of term remaining. While we have no geographic restrictions, we do have a preference for modernized properties completed typically after 2000, occupied by a hospital system or notable physician practice. We’re looking for deal sizes of $3 million or greater.

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