Rockville, MD – Call 2011 the year of the big resurgence for Robert Scheer and his colleagues at Scheer Partners.
When the economic downturn began in 2008, virtually every company in the local commercial real estate sector slowed down, and Scheer Partners was no exception. The recession forced the Rockville-based company, a leading provider of fully integrated commercial real estate services for the health science industry in the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas, to scale down from three D.C.-area offices and dozens of employees to one location and a small, albeit talented, cadre of brokers.
Though difficult market conditions have remained in place more recently, over the past 12 months Scheer Partners managed to stage an explosive turnaround as it underwent an instrumental transformation by turning its specialized life sciences niche into a dominant position in the greater medical community.
Scheer and the firm’s other leaders had to make some tough decisions, and overcome a variety of hurdles along the way, but the company has clearly found its footing and is now rolling along. This is evident in an extremely prosperous 2011 that saw Scheer Partners carry out significant deals for a range of biotechnology and health-care businesses; considerably boost its overall client base; expand its work force; and experience exponential revenue growth.
Today, the company is much stronger, and results on par with last year are expected in 2012, executives say. Pound for pound, the current team at Scheer Partners is the most productive group in the firm’s more than 20-year history, says Scheer, the company’s founder and president.
“Our per-agent output is up more than 30 percent in the last two years,” he says. “The sizable life sciences transactions we completed in 2011 for Advanced BioScience Laboratories, Mars Symbioscience and Novavax alone represented nearly 250,000 square feet, which was approximately 62 percent of the total net absorption leased, with a gross aggregate transaction volume of $80 million.”
Behind these and the many other notable deals are the professionals at Scheer Partners, and the company of late has certainly bolstered its broker and executive ranks.
What’s more, with the additions of Ken Luchs and Perry Berman, Scheer Partners now has senior staff filling all of the strategic competencies in the company’s full-service platform. “This enables us to execute on complex acquisitions, brokerage, construction management and financial activities with equal ease,” Scheer says. “Most importantly, we increased our market penetration in our targeted health-care sector by more than 24 percent from 2009, showing sustained average quarter-to-quarter growth of 12 percent, based on the total value of transactions.”
That accomplishment in the health-care field is rooted in a decision made two years ago by executives at Scheer Partners to leverage the firm’s stellar client base in the life sciences to vastly increase the company’s business in the much larger – and more opportunistic – medical space.
Scheer Partners officials arrived at this pivotal determination after assessing the firm’s competitive advantages, such as its deep industry relationships, long-time experience and technical expertise, as well as several key factors in the marketplace, including an aging population, favorable demographics in Montgomery County and other jurisdictions around the Washington region, and new federal health-care legislation.
Moving forward with this renewed focus has represented the number-one priority for everyone at Scheer Partners, and, despite the uncertainty that came with this shift in strategy, the reward is clearly outweighing the initial risk. By achieving an abundance of major objectives in 2011, Scheer Partners has managed to outperform all other boutique, regional and national competitors entrenched in the D.C. area.
“This past year has amounted to a tremendous success story for our company,” Scheer says. “We’ve brought on board several well-known brokers and executives, and the sheer number of transactions and service deliveries that we have done over the last 12 months for clients in health care and the life sciences, even as we faced ongoing market challenges, is extremely encouraging. I am confident that our momentum will undoubtedly continue in 2012.”
Here are some highlights from 2011 that illustrate the robust year recorded by Scheer Partners, including leases completed for tenants, property listings obtained from landlords, consulting agreements won, and new members joining the firm’s brokerage team:
LEASE AND COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS
Advanced BioScience Laboratories
In the first quarter of 2011, contract research/manufacturing organization Advanced BioScience Laboratories (ABL) moved into its new 72,000-square-foot headquarters at 9800 Medical Center Drive in Rockville, as well as a separate 35,000-square-foot vivarium facility, also in Rockville. Scheer Partners represented ABL in these two leases, negotiating the transactions as well as providing construction and project management on the combined $15 million build-out of both Rockville properties.
Mars Symbioscience, the global health and life sciences unit of food manufacturer Mars, recently signed a lease for 65,000 square feet in Germantown, and this year it will relocate from Rockville to the new space. Scheer Partners negotiated the lease on behalf of Mars Symbioscience and is also providing ongoing construction and property-management services.
Vaccine maker Novavax committed to 74,209 square feet of laboratory, manufacturing and office space in Gaithersburg, in a deal put together by Scheer Partners. During the first quarter of 2012, Novavax, which landed a lucrative federal-government contract in 2011 to develop influenza vaccines, will move its corporate office to 21,209 square feet at 22 Firstfield Road, while the entire 53,000-square-foot building at 20 Firstfield Road will serve as its primary commercial-scale manufacturing plant.
Additionally, over the course of the past year, Scheer Partners executed more than a dozen medical-related transactions totaling 66,000 square feet of space for a variety of clinical practitioners and health-care companies.
200 Professional Drive
Douglas Legum Development engaged Scheer Partners to market 200 Professional Drive, a 63,000-square-foot building in Gaithersburg. Brokers at Scheer Partners are targeting large office users, as well as health-care companies and medical practitioners, for the 48,500 square feet of available space for lease.
501 N. Frederick Ave.
North Bethesda-based Guardian Realty Investors hired Scheer Partners to market its 50,549-square-foot building at 501 N. Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg. By March 31 of 2012, Kaiser Permanente is slated to consolidate its area operations into a separate 200,00-square-foot facility in Gaithersburg, leaving behind 35,000 square feet of fully improved medical-office space at 501 N. Frederick Ave.
1701 Research Blvd.
San Diego-based BioMed Realty Trust called on Scheer Partners to market 1701 Research Blvd., a 104,743-square-foot building in Rockville that BioMed is repositioning as a Class A lab and office property. Subsequently, Meso Scale Diagnostics fully leased this facility.
19735 Germantown Road
Expanding its long-standing relationship with the Bethesda-based Walker Group and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Scheer Partners secured the listing of the 97,0000-square-foot medical-office building at 19735 Germantown Road in Germantown, where 37,000 square feet is available for lease. This project boasts a state-of-the-art, hospital-operated 24-hour emergency room on the first floor and is ideally suited for medical practitioners seeking to access the growing up-county health-care market.
Scheer Partners’ expertise is also receiving attention outside of the local commercial real estate industry. In recent months, the firm received two consulting contracts centered on the development and marketing of life sciences-related assets.
In one project, the University of Rhode Island hired Scheer Partners to market and develop a 250,000-square-foot, multi-building research and technology park on the university’s campus that would house engineering, science and tech firms.
Secondly, Space Florida, the state’s aerospace economic-development agency, engaged Scheer Partners to determine the marketability of its 104,000-square-foot Space Life Sciences Laboratory (SLSL).
KEY NEW HIRES
Ken Luchs, a 50-year real estate professional who previously served as president and CEO of the Shannon & Luchs Company, which was one of the largest full-service real estate firms in the Washington market, is a senior vice president with Scheer Partners. In this position, he will concentrate on, among other things, representing health-care tenants and owners of medical-office buildings in the D.C. region.
Anna Martin recently began working at Scheer Partners as a commercial property manager. Previously, she served as a property manager with the JBG Cos. At Scheer Partners, Martin, who has 11 years of industry experience, is focusing on all aspects of property management, such as administration, budgeting, compliance, occupancy control, personnel, tenant relations and vendor management.
Yvonne Mirowski is Scheer Partners’ director of operations and marketing. She has more than 13 years of marketing experience in the commercial real estate sector. In the Washington area, Mirowski formerly held stints at American Real Estate Partners and Cushman & Wakefield. Her responsibilities at Scheer Partners include marketing Montgomery County’s technology incubator program, participating in industry events, and working on the company’s interactive marketing and public relations campaigns, as well as its quarterly newsletters.