New Owner for 1.1-MSF Distribution Center

A bevy of investors was hoping to acquire the fully leased property at the Rockefeller Group Foreign Trade Zone/Charleston in Charleston, S.C., but USAA Real Estate Co.'s U.S. Industrial REIT III emerged victorious.

February 23, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

A bevy of investors was hoping to get their hands on the fully leased, 1.1 million square-foot bulk distribution center at the Rockefeller Group Foreign Trade Zone/Charleston in Charleston, S.C., but USAA Real Estate Co.’s U.S. Industrial REIT IIl emerged victorious. Commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc., which marketed the brand new property on behalf of Rockefeller Group Development Corp. and MeadWestvaco Corp., the joint venture that developed it, is remaining mum on the financial details of the deal.

The RGDC/MWV partnership completed construction of the state-of-the-art LEED Gold-certified building in 2010, about one year after tire distributor TBC Corp. signed a 15-year lease to occupy the entire cross-dock distribution facility. The structure is the first of four that will ultimately provide an aggregate 2.7 million square feet of master-planned distribution space at the 400-acre Trade Zone, which sits near the I-26/Jedburg Rd. interchange in Berkeley County.

Cushman & Wakefield represented both the seller and the buyer in the transaction through its Metropolitan Area Capital Markets Group, Southeast Capital Markets Group and alliance partner Coppedge & Tison. “The cap rate was very aggressive,” Andrew Merin, capital markets broker with Cushman & Wakefield, told CPE. “And the sellers turned a profit, big-time.”

Well positioned to take advantage of the impending Panama Canal extension, Charleston, S.C., is moving up the list of desirable locations for industrial asset investment, as evidenced by the numerous hopeful buyers that coveted the Trade Zone property, located 25 miles from the expanding Port of Charleston. “We had a lot of activity,” Merin said, adding that interested parties included pension fund advisors and foreign institutions. In addition to the fact that Charleston is on the upswing, a few other factors attracted the investment community. “The property is under a long-term lease to a financially sound company, it’s a brand new, high quality asset and there’s a lack of industrial product for sale but a lot of raised money looking for industrial.”