Today we look at the four finalists for Best Commercial Property Sale in D CEO’s inaugural Commercial Real Estate Awards program. They involve a diverse, impressive group of projects that span from South Dallas and Deep Ellum to Lewisville and Legacy business park. The winners will be revealed at a March 20 event, and at RealPoints on March 21. Yesterday we profiled the three Best Land Sale finalists. Check back each day to read about contenders in other categories.
UPDATE: Scroll down to see the winner.
42 Deep Ellum
Scott Rohrman of 42 Real Estate has big plans for Deep Ellum. The investor has acquired 32 properties in the heart of the district totaling about 108,000 square feet. They’re located along Elm, Main, and Commerce Streets between Malcolm X Boulevard and Good Latimer Expressway. 42 Real Estate also snapped up nearly half of the area’s parking lots. Rohrman said he aims to help the district rediscover its potential. “I see Deep Ellum as a gathering place for people to safely experience all walks of life while enjoying great food, music, art, and the relationships that develop from those experiences,” he said.
Plans call for clusters of shops, restaurants, bars with live music, and other retail and office space. Rohrman said an owner with a critical mass of properties can improve connectivity and better address parking and security issues. Mike Geisler and Theo Thompson of Venture Commercial, along with Barry Annino of Barry Annino Real Estate and Michael Turner of J. Elmer Turner Realtors, helped negotiate the transactions, which involved 10 different sellers. Going forward, Venture will handle leasing and property management of 42 Deep Ellum.
Built in 1978 through 1987 as a defense electronic systems development and production facility for Texas Instruments, Convergence in Lewisville was initially comprised of 14 buildings totaling 1.5 million square feet. During the past five years, more than $100 million has been pumped into its redevelopment. The once-empty campus is now 95 percent leased—with 64 percent of those leases extending out to 2019 and beyond. The tenant mix includes Archon Group, Cyrus Networks LLC, GMAC Mortgage Corp., JPMorgan Chase Bank, Nationstar Mortgage, Overhead Door Corp., and med fusion, a collaborative group led by Baylor Health Care System.
After the remarkable transformation, Brookfield Asset Management put Convergence up for sale, tapping Gary Carr, vice chairman at CBRE, to market it. The campus’ robust infrastructure “generated significant interest from both domestic and offshore investors, particularly those with a thorough understanding of the long-term value of data center space,” Carr said. Walking away with the prize was Digital Realty Trust, which paid about $123 million for the complex in a deal that closed in early 2012. “Convergence is one of the most successful repositioning stories of a former large corporate campus in the history of Dallas,” Carr said.
When the regional headquarters for Encana Oil & Gas got under way in the heart of Plano’s Legacy Town Center in early 2011, it was one of the few high-rise office projects under construction in North Texas. Designed by Corgan and developed by KDC, the 12-story building totals 318,500 square feet and includes an adjacent seven-level parking garage. Encana’s 500-person Mid-Continent Business Unit took occupancy in May of 2012. When KDC put the trophy asset up for sale a short time later, it didn’t take long for it to attract a long list of suitors. According to CBRE’s Carr, who marketed the property on behalf of KDC, the building garnered interests from both institutional and private investors from around the globe.
In the end, the asset was sold to Phoenix-based Cole Real Estate Investments for $120 million, or $377 per square foot—the highest per-square-foot price of any office property in the history of Dallas. The deal was finalized in November 2012; it required a quick turnaround, as KDC wanted a year-end close. Boyd Messman, senior vice president acquisitions, was the in-house representative for Cole.
When Principal Real Estate decided to sell some assets it owned in the Valwood and Turnpike industrial parks, the buyers quickly lined up. According to CBRE’s Jack Fraker, who led the team that marketed the 2.1 million-square-foot portfolio, “there was frenzied institutional interest in the offering, which further validates Dallas-Fort Worth as one of the top industrial markets in the country.” It didn’t hurt that the 16 properties were located within two nationally renowned industrial parks, where the buildings are of uniform quality and “timeless” in their appeal, Fraker said.
Buyers also liked the fact that the assets were 93 percent occupied, that they were made up of both single tenant and multitenant buildings, and that they had been owned by the same owner for 15 to 20 years. “It represented a rare opportunity for a new investor to acquire a critical mass in these important business parks without having to assemble their own portfolio, one building at a time,” Fraker said. In the end, the two different locations—Turnpike is near Interstate 30 in South Dallas; Valwood is in North Dallas off Interstate 35-E near 635—attracted two different buyers. TA Associates Realty acquired the Turnpike properties; the Valwood assets were sold to EastGroup.
WINNER: This year’s Best Commercial Property Sale goes to Encana. Click here for a complete list of winners and finalists from this year’s Commercial Real Estate Awards.