1.4M-SF Ohio Commerce Center Snapped Up for Pocket Change

Spirongo Lordstown L.L.C., an entity controlled by brothers George and Spiros Bakeris of Howland, Ohio, has acquired the 1.4 million-square-foot Ohio Commerce Center in Warren, Ohio, from Roseville, Minn.-based Meritex.

Spirongo Lordstown L.L.C., an entity controlled by brothers George and Spiros Bakeris of Howland, Ohio, has acquired the 1.4 million-square-foot Ohio Commerce Center in Warren, Ohio, from Roseville, Minn.-based Meritex for just $2 million in cash. Despite the tiny price tag, Meritex still comes out of the deal with a profit on its original investment, having acquired the 476-acre property from the Village of Lordstown in 1970.

Located in the Youngstown/Warren/Boardman submarket near Interstate 80 and Interstate 76, Ohio Commerce Center sits within 30 minutes of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport Regional Airport and is accessible by rail. The site, originally developed in the 1940s, served as a military installation prior to its transformation into an industrial business park. Of the complex’s group of 12 manufacturing and warehouse facilities, four 172,800-square-foot buildings have been partitioned into 43,200-square-foot sections–and in some cases, divided into even smaller segments of 10,000 square feet–to accommodate a broader range of space needs. Ohio Commerce Center also features 10,000 surface parking spaces.

Real estate brokerage firm Routh-Hurlbert Real Estate represented the buyer in the transaction, while Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services Inc. stood in for Meritex. The property had been up for grabs for about a year, during which time Marcus & Millichap had marketed the complex at various prices, including $5.2 million and $4.75 million. According to Trumbull County records, the property has a current total appraised value of approximately $6.3 million and a total assessed value of nearly $2.2 million.

“There was a lot of early interest from out-of -own investors, but the new owners are local to the area and they understand the market,” Daniel Williams, Meritex Chief Investment Officer, told CPE. Knowledge of the market will be essential in leasing up the property, as the 19 businesses on its tenant roster represent a total occupancy level of just under 30 percent.

For Meritex, parting with the property after four decades leaves the private real estate investment and management company well within reach of its goal of repositioning its portfolio into institutional-grade industrial properties in Columbus, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Houston and Minneapolis. “We’re exiting the market because it doesn’t line up with our investment strategies anymore,” Williams said. “We want to improve our overall liquidity by shifting our focus to the primary and secondary markets; Ohio Commerce Center is in a tertiary market.”