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Feature Story: Not bad for a ‘late bloomer’

DOC Founder John W. Sweet is the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award winner

By John B. Mugford

John W. Sweet and his wife, Beth, were on hand to receive his 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented at the Revista Medical Real Estate Investment Forum (MREIF) in Bonita Spring, Fla., March 1. (HREI photo)

As many professionals approach their 60s, they’re most likely thinking about how they will spend their retirement years.

Not John W. Sweet, who likes to call himself a “late bloomer.”

In fact, Mr. Sweet’s career was just ramping up as he was approaching his 60s, which also coincided with his entering the healthcare real estate (HRE) sector, with an emphasis on medical office buildings (MOB), in 2002.

“I had a good career for a long time,” Mr. Sweet says, noting that he was with several firms before getting involved in the HRE space, including working for Milwaukee-based B.C. Ziegler & Company, a specialty investment bank, in the late 1990s.

Mr. Sweet is perhaps best known in HRE for starting one of the sector’s most successful, prolific buyers and owners of MOBs: Milwaukee-based Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE: DOC). In less than a decade since its initial public offering (IPO) in mid-2013, REIT has become one of the best-known and most highly regarded firms in the business.

It was serial entrepreneur Fred Klipsch – well-known for his firm, Klipsch Group Inc., a maker of high-end speakers and other audio equipment – who brought Mr. Sweet to the product type. Mr. Klipsch recruited him in 2002 to help launch and co-found an MOB-focused real estate investment trust (REIT), Windrose Medical Properties, which was based in Nashville, Tenn.

After helping with that launch,

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