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Steward Health Care sells medical office facilities

Steward Health Care sells medical office facilities

It will lease space in buildings from Healthcare Trust

By Robert Weisman

Globe Staff  

Steward Health Care System, the Boston company aggressively buying and renovating community hospitals across eastern Massachusetts, has sold 13 medical office buildings to an Arizona-based real estate investment trust for about $100 million.

Under the deal, Steward will lease back its space in the buildings from their new owner, Healthcare Trust of America Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., which specializes in buying medical properties and has amassed $214 million worth of office space since the start of the year.

Steward signed a long-term lease renting the medical office space – 371,551 square feet – through 2024, according to a statement by the investment company.


Mark D. Engstrom, executive vice president of acquisitions for Healthcare Trust, said the purchase would expand his firm’s holdings into eastern Massachusetts, where there are “high barriers to entry’’ for competing office developers. It will also open a partnership with Steward, which could be acquiring additional medical office real estate in the future, he said.

“It was just a great opportunity to build a true relationship with them,’’ Engstrom said. “We would look forward to the opportunity of doing business with them in the future.’’

Steward said it put the office portfolio on the market because its business is running hospitals, not managing real estate. Most of the properties are on or near Steward hospital campuses, including St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and Carney Hospital in Boston, Morton Hospital in Taunton, Norwood Hospital, and Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton.

“This will enable us to focus on our core business, which is health care,’’ Steward spokesman Chris Murphy said. “The proceeds from this sale are going to be invested back into Steward.’’

The for-profit hospital group is owned by New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which in 2010 purchased the Caritas Christi Health Care chain of six Catholic hospitals and converted them from nonprofits to investor-owned institutions. Steward, formed to run those hospitals, has since bought four other Massachusetts community hospitals.

Steward, led by Ralph de la Torre, former Caritas Christi chief executive, also has been looking to expand its hospital system out of state. Steward is seeking to acquire Landmark Medical Center of Woonsocket, R.I., a hospital that is operating under state receivership, in a deal that requires the approval of Rhode Island regulators.

Robert Weisman can be reached at