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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024

Developer Is Too Busy to Celebrate 30th Anniversary

This month, Del Mar-based health facility development firm Pacific Medical Buildings celebrates its 30th anniversary.

But champagne corks won’t fly in the office, said Robert Rosenthal, president and managing partner of Pacific Medical Buildings.

The management of a total of 700,000 square feet of building space and the handling of contracts worth $103 million leave the firm’s 27-member staff no time to party, Rosenthal said.

That may just be the price to pay for success. Within the last three decades, Pacific Medical Buildings has undergone significant changes: It changed its owner and company name, shifted to a new business plan and added a viable partner, Rosenthal said.

Started in April 1971 as the Western regional office of American Medical Buildings, a Milwaukee, Wis.-based developer of medical buildings, the firm specialized in designing, then selling facilities to hospitals.

By 1986, many hospital systems, cash-strapped by cutbacks in government reimbursements, could no longer afford the cost of new medical buildings, Rosenthal said.

This realization led American Medical Buildings to seek out investors to put up the millions of dollars needed in construction costs. In return, the investors obtained ownership.

Rosenthal said hospitals benefited.

“You as the hospital will have all the benefits of the buildings, but don’t have to own it,” he said. Yet, hospitals retain full control, he said.

This concept prevailed beyond the firm’s management buyout in 1988 led by Rosenthal. They changed the name to Pacific Medical Buildings to reflect the firm’s focus on the West Coast.

Even the savings and loan crisis of 1990 couldn’t shake the builder.

“It was very difficult to obtain construction loans then,” Rosenthal said.

But financial backing from partner Dr. Jeffrey Rush helped bridge the crisis.

The firm has built 63 facilities in 39 cities, becoming the largest developer of medical office buildings and outpatient facilities in the West. In San Diego County, the firm developed seven buildings so far.


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