Saturday, May 22, 2004

Hitachi to Enter Long Term Sublease fo New HQ Campus in San Jose CA

CoStar Web Site - May 13, 2004

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST), one of the world's leading suppliers of hard disk drives, struck a deal to relocate its corporate headquarters and research functions to another corporate campus in San Jose, while retaining its development, manufacturing and support operations at the company's current 332-acre campus on Cottle Road.

In one of the largest subleases ever signed in Silicon Valley, the technology firm agreed to a long-term sublease with an option to purchase the entire 21-acre, 367,500-square-foot flex/R&D campus at 3403 Yerba Buena Blvd. in San Jose, CA. Hitachi GST plans to relocate 650 employees from its headquarters and research center to the Yerba Buena campus in late Spring 2005.

Bob Steinbock, Scott Prosser and Mark Schmidt of CB Richard Ellis in San Jose represented the sublessor, Celanese Americas Corp. According to Trammell Crow Co., which was marketing the Yuerba Buena Boulevard campus, it was originally developed by Syntex Corp. at a cost of more than $100 million as the company's preeminent testing lab and is located adjacent to Mission West Properties' and Legacy Partners' campus developments. Sphere: Related Content

Nordea Completes $1 Billion Pan-Nordic Sale-Leaseback Transaction

PRNewswire - May 6, 2004

Cardinal Capital Partners, Inc., a U.S. based real estate investment firm, recently completed the acquisition of a multinational real estate portfolio valued at approximately $1 billion from Nordea Bank and its subsidiaries. The portfolio is comprised of 13 properties located in the central business districts of Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; and Helsinki, Finland and encompasses 2 million square feet (192,000 m2) of premiere office and retail properties.

The deal reportedly took a year to complete and featured a 25-year lease for 2 million square feet of CBD office space.
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Wachovia to Enter $547 million Sale Leaseback of 8.2 Million SF Portfolio

SEC Edgar Web Site - May 11, 2004

American Financial Realty Trust today announced that it has signed a contract to acquire a portfolio of 150 properties, totaling approximately 8.2 million square feet, from Wachovia Bank for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $547 million. The portfolio composition includes bank branches and both large and small office buildings. The Company expects to complete the acquisition in the third quarter.

Upon completion of the transaction, the seller will lease approximately 5.0 million square feet in the portfolio for a 20-year term at an annual triple net rental rate equal to approximately 8.5% of the Company's purchase price for the leased space, and will lease an additional 1.1 million square feet of space on a temporary basis for rent equal to operating expenses for the properties. A portion of the portfolio is currently leased to third parties, while the remainder of the portfolio will be acquired vacant.

Within the portfolio, American Financial intends to acquire 24 non-core properties, aggregating approximately 2.0 million square feet, and to immediately commence marketing these properties for sale. Assuming sale of these properties, the seller's occupancy within the portfolio will rise to over 80%. Sphere: Related Content

Bank of America to Enter $546 million Sale Leaseback of 7.5 Million SF Portfolio

SEC Edgar Web Site - May 10, 2004

On May 7, 2004, the American Financial Realty Trust and Bank of America, N.A. entered into a letter of understanding regarding the Company's purchase of a portfolio of 263 properties, aggregating 7.5 million square feet. The portfolio described in the letter of understanding includes 179 bank branches and 84 office buildings, which the Company will purchase for aggregate consideration of approximately $546 million.

The proposed transaction contemplates that the Seller will lease back from the Company approximately 63.5% of the space in the portfolio for a term of 15 or 20 years (at the option of the Seller) at an annual triple net rental rate equal to between approximately 8.4% and 8.55% of the Company's purchase price for the leased
space, depending on the term selected.

The Seller is also expected to occupy an additional approximately 7% of the portfolio for up to 18 months, at an annual rent equal to operating expenses plus $1.00 per square foot. An additional approximately 11% of the portfolio is currently leased to third party tenants, while the remaining approximately 15% of the portfolio will be acquired vacant.

(The properties are believed to be thos acquired by Bank of America in its merger with FleetBoston Financial Corporation.)

American Financial expects to achieve an average annual capitalization rate of approximately 9.25% on the portfolio over the initial 20 year term of the Seller's leases, or approximately 9.0% assuming the Seller selects an initial 15 year lease term.
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Friday, May 21, 2004

Charles Schwab to Sell & Leaseback San Francisco HQ

CoStar Web Site - May 6, 2004

American Financial Realty Trust (NYSE: AFR) said it signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire a downtown San Francisco office building fully leased to financial advisor Charles Schwab & Co. as well as Schwab's leasehold interests in three suburban office buildings. The agreement covers approximately 823,500 square feet of office space in Northern California.

American Financial said it will buy a 373,500-square-foot, Class-A office building in downtown San Francisco that will be fully leased on a 'bond net' basis by Schwab. American Financial also said it will "assume control over" three office buildings in Northern California totaling approximately 450,000 square feet and currently leased to, but not occupied by, Schwab.

Those buildings are believed to be part of Pleasanton Corporate Commons, a four-building office park developed by Hines on Stoneridge Mall Road, near the intersection of Interstates 580 and 680 in the East Bay community of Pleasanton. Schwab pre-leased the campus from Hines in 2000 with plans to occupy the entire complex. But those plans never materialized as the economy slipped into recession and Schwab initiated several rounds of lay-offs, eventually putting the space up for sublease.

Hines sold the office park to Swiss banker UBS at the end of last year in a sale brokered by Secured Capital Corp. It is believed that Schwab's leases may have been restructured as part of that sale. Prior to the sale, Schwab had two long-term leases for the Pleasanton buildings. One for one building of approximately 150,000 square feet through 2010, and the other for the remaining 446,000 square feet through 2013. Schwab subleased approximately 118,000 square feet in one of the buildings to E-Loan.

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Halifax Bank of Scotland Nearing £150 Million Sale Leaseback of London HQ

Property Week - April 16, 2004

Halifax Bank of Scotland is set to sell its City of London headquarters to Vincent Tchenguiz's new company, just four months after buying the building. Consensus is buying 33 Old Broad Street, EC2, for around £150m with the benefit of a new 35-year leaseback to HBoS.

The 192,000 sq ft (17,837 sq m) building was bought by HBoS from Prudential for around £130m at the end of last year, but the new lease has made it a more valuable investment. The Broad Street deal coincides with a rise in activity in the City investment market. Two large buildings have gone up for sale this week, as some private investors decide to cash in on the huge demand to buy buildings.

Matrix Securities is trying to sell Alban Gate, 125 London Wall, EC2, for around £270m. The move is surprising because Matrix only bought the building in June for around £240m, and private investor syndicates such as Matrix usually hold their investments rather than trade them. CB Richard Ellis is believed to be advising Matrix.

In the second sale, a Malaysian-controlled private family trust has placed 280 Bishopsgate, the London HQ of Royal Bank of Scotland, on the market at £242m. The building was bought in early 2002 for around £220m. FPDSavills is the selling agent.

However, James Crawford, head of City investment at FPDSavills, warned: ‘There is less on the market in the City now than there has been in the last 10 years.' Sphere: Related Content

Soros Buys Five Building Portfolio Occupied By HQ Office Suites

Freeman News - May 11, 2004

Soros Real Estate and Peter Kershaw have bought a portfolio of five buildings from Merrill Lynch Executive Office Partnership for a total of £52.3m. The five buildings were occupied by HQ, the UK's second-largest serviced office provider after Regus.

Kershaw and Soros together bought out HQ's UK business from its US parent after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. The offices are at St James's Square, Mayfair; Bishopsgate, London EC2; Fenchurch Avenue, EC3; Bristol Business Park and Edinburgh Park.

Bank of Scotland provided financing for the deal. Merrill Lynch has also provided funding for five years. HQ has also signed a 13-year lease on its building at Stockley Park. The building is owned by Merrill Lynch Property Fund. HQ currently operates 20 centres in the UK and plans to increase this number to 30 within three years. Sphere: Related Content

Unilever Unit Completes Sale Leaseback of CT Offices

Fairfield County Business Journal - April 12, 2004

Consumer products giant Unilever, as part of its expansion plans in Trumbull, has decided the company might be better off leasing a building it has owned since it was built in the mid-1960s. A deed filed with the town of Trumbull shows that Unilever subsidiary Conopco Inc. sold the 100,000-square-foot structure at 20 and 40 Merritt blvd. to WH-Conn L.L.C. for $21.5 million on Feb. 24. The buyer is a subsidiary of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of Baltimore - the company currently constructing the $20 million, 80,000-square-foot expansion to the building Unilever announced in October.

Unilever Home and Personal Care U.S.A. is consolidating units from Greenwich and New Jersey in an expanded five-building campus, adding 600 new jobs and bringing its total employment in Trumbull to about 1,500 people.

The $21.5 million price tag Whiting-Turner paid represents a premium price, real estate brokers said. With the planed expansion, the building would total 180,000 square feet, putting the cost at $119 per square foot.

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Borders Books Completes Sale Leaseback of UK HQ & Flagship Store

Jones Lang LaSalle UK Web Site - April 20, 2004

Borders (UK) Ltd Completes Sale and Leaseback of Charing Cross Road Head Quarters and Flagship Store. Acting on behalf of Borders (UK) Ltd, Jones Lang LaSalle has successfully exchanged and completed contracts on the sale and leaseback of the landmark building at 118-124 Charing Cross Road that houses Borders' head office and flagship superstore.

Knight Frank, acting on behalf of clients of Credit Suisse Asset Management, purchased the property on which Borders (UK) Ltd has signed up to a 20-year lease. The purchase demonstrates the continuing strength of the Central London retail market and more specifically the increased demand for property in Charing Cross Road. Sphere: Related Content

Fidelity to Sell & Leaseback Two Boston Office Buildings - April 30, 2004

Fidelity Investments is putting on the market a significant block of its downtown Boston real estate holdings in a bid to cash in on a hot investment market for fully leased office properties.

The financial services giant plans to sell the 900,000-square-foot 245 Summer St. building, next to South Station, and a much smaller 7 Water St., near Post Office Square, a company spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

The move is part of an effort, said spokeswoman Anne Crowley, to cash in on sky-high demand by real estate investors for office buildings leased to high-quality corporate tenants. As part of the deal, Fidelity will lease back its space in the former Stone & Webster building - a key factor that would make the 14-story South Station high-rise more valuable to investors, observers say.

Fidelity bought the 1970s era edifice for roughly $190 million in 1999. The financial services giant could get nearly $100 million more for it, noted one real estate executive.

In opting to put the downtown buildings on the block, Fidelity may be eyeing the record, $705 million sale of the recently completed State Street Financial Center. That 1 million square foot tower sold for more than twice its $350 million development cost, largely due to its lease to State Street Corp., observers say.

Fidelity, at the least, could sell 245 Summer for $300 a square foot - or $270 million - with the price going up from there, noted Gary Lemire of CB Richard Ellis/Whittier Partners. It's also expected to lease back space it occupies at 7 Water St. Sphere: Related Content

Morgan Lewis & Bockius Philadelphia HQ For Sale

Philadelphia Business Journal - April 30, 2004

Six Penn Center, home to the prestigious Philadelphia law firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius is up for sale. The 305,000-square-foot building is fully leased to Morgan Lewis, which made its home there in the fall of 1998 after a controversial move from One Logan Square. There are nearly 10 years left on a 15-year lease of the building.

The building has several owners. Financial services firm Morgan Stanley owns a portion of the property on behalf of pension funds. Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust of Philadelphia is also an owner. Holliday Fenolglio Fowler is marketing the building. The sale price was not set but estimated to reach $60 million.

The 20-story building has a five-story parking garage that can accommodate 194 vehicles. Since the parking deck was once office space, the garage floors can be converted back into office space to allow Morgan Lewis to expand if necessary.
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Saturday, May 08, 2004

Property Consultant DTZ Etimates £40 Billion in UK Property Outsourcing Over Next Five Years

Times Online - May 03, 2004

DTZ, the property consultant, said that companies and public sector organisations sold off more than £20 billion of real estate in the last five years but that this would increase as more businesses opted to cash in on the value of their property assets.

DTZ said that sale and leaseback deals accounted for almost 50 per cent of property outsourcing deals over the last two years. DTZ also expects local authorities and other public sector bodies to sell off more of their property holdings. It estimates that UK local authorities own £110 billion of property, excluding council houses. The property consultant said that councils such as Birmingham and Southwark both have larger property portfolios than some of the major listed UK property companies.

Property experts believe that as many indebted local authorities come under increasing pressure to manage their assets more effectively, they will be tempted to sell off property as way to ease financial pressures. Bradford City Council is one of the first council’s to consider outsourcing its property portfolio. Earlier this year it drew up a shortlist of bidders, including Land Securities, the UK’s largest property company, to own and manage its property portfolio.

DTZ said that 72 per cent of the estimated £3.9 trillion of commercial property in Europe was owned directly by businesses and public sector organisations rather than by property companies or by investors. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Commercial Net Lease Realty, Inc. Announces Retirement of President and Chief Operating Officer

BUSINESS WIRE - May 3, 2004

Commercial Net Lease Realty, Inc. (NYSE:NNN), announced today that Gary M. Ralston, President and Chief Operating Officer, has retired effective May 1, 2004. Mr. Ralston has also resigned his position from the company's Board of Directors. Craig Macnab, Chief Executive Officer, has assumed the title of President.

'While it is difficult to leave a company which has been such a big part of my life for almost 15 years, I am grateful for the opportunities I've been presented and proud of the achievements our team has accomplished,' said Mr. Ralston.

'Gary Ralston has been an integral part of the growth of our company from less than $15 million in 1992 to more than $1.25 billion today and we very much appreciate the contributions he has made to Commercial Net Lease Realty,' said James M. Seneff, Jr., Chairman of the Board.

'One of the things that attracted me to Commercial Net Lease Realty was the strong management team and the quality of the balance sheet,' added Craig Macnab, Chief Executive Officer. 'Gary has done a terrific job providing the leadership over the past decade that has brought the company to where it is today.

Futher commentary on the departure of Ralston can be found at the Commercial Property News web site at the link below. Sphere: Related Content

U-Haul Completes $312 Million Sale Leaseback Transaction

PR Newswire - May 4, 2004

Investment firm W. P. Carey & Co. LLC announced today the completion of a $312 million lease transaction involving 78 retail self-storage and truck rental facilities totalling 4 milion square feet in 24 states which operate under the U-Haul brand name. U-Haul used proceeds from the sale-leaseback to pay off their synthetic lease debt.

The properties, totaling approximately four million square feet, were acquired on behalf of Corporate Property Associates 14 Incorporated, (CPA(R):14), Corporate Property Associates 15 Incorporated (CPA(R):15), and Corporate Property Associates 16 -- Global Incorporated (CPA(R):16 -- Global), members of the W. P. Carey Group of income generating, publicly held non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).

The facilities are located in 69 cities in 24 states. All 78 locations contain a truck rental facility, and all but one contains a self-storage facility. Under the terms of the two separate bond-type net lease agreements the self-storage facilities will be leased for an initial term of 20 years. The lease can be renewed for two ten-year periods. The truck rental facilities will be leased for an initial term of 10 years. There is also a 20-year management agreement with U-Haul to run both sides of the operation.
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