A&B Sells Austin-Area Retail Center, Eyes Savannah Industrial Market

A&B Properties Inc. has sold Boardwalk Shopping Center–a 184,600-square-foot retail center on 21 acres in the Austin submarket of Round Rock, Texas–with intent to reinvest the proceeds in another the burgeoning Savannah, Georgia, industrial market. A&B Properties, the real estate subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin Inc., sold Boardwalk Shopping Center to affiliates of Gemini Real Estate Advisors L.L.C.. A&B plans to apply the proceeds as part of its Section 1031 reinvestments program to a previously acquired logistics warehouse facility in Savannah with the balance to be reinvested in other replacement properties. Among A&B’s Savannah industrial properties are 1020 and 1024 Morgan Parkway, both of which are located near the Port of Savannah, the second-largest port on the East Coast. The larger 711,000-square-foot building is fully leased to Matson Global Distribution Services. The second 325,000-square-foot building had not been placed into service as of June 30. The Port of Savannah has had a busy 2008 thus far, with more than 715,000 TEU’s processed year-to-date and is now the second fastest growing port for imports into the United States, according to a Grubb & Ellis Co. report on the Atlanta industrial market. Plans are underway to accommodate continued expansion with the port’s approval of the acquisition of a 1,500-acre site on the Savannah River for the Jasper Ocean Terminal, which will be jointly owned by Georgia and South Carolina, according to the report. Gemini’s Boardwalk Shopping Center is located at 2601 South Interstate Highway 35 on one of Austin’s busiest intersections, I-35 and Louis Henna Boulevard (Highway 45), between Home Depot and WalMart and adjacent to Dell Computer’s headquarters. During A&B’s ownership, a direct roadway link to the adjacent Dell Inc. headquarters facility and successfully introduced several new tenants to the Center. Major tenants in the center are PetsMart, Ross Dress for Less and Office Max. Austin is the top-ranked market with the highest expected 2008 employment growth in the country, according to Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Services. The Austin market is also anticipated to have the highest expected 2008 household growth After this sale, A&B Properties’ commercial property/investment portfolio includes 7.3 million square feet of retail, office and industrial space located in Hawaii (22 properties) and eight mainland states (23 properties), including six retail, office and industrial properties in Texas (San Antonio and Dallas). Alexander & Baldwin Inc., headquartered in Honolulu, is engaged in real estate, ocean transportation and logistics services, as well as agribusiness.Gemini Real Estate Advisors is a full service real estate company specializing in the acquisition, development and management of commercial real estate. The firm currently owns a portfolio of more than 4 million square feet with approximately $1 billion of value.