Alex. Brown, Biynah Sell 1.3 MSF Midwest Portfolio

The partners have relinquished their years-long hold of the assets amid booming investor interest in the heartland's logistics sector.
Pewaukee Commerce Center II
Pewaukee Commerce Center II. Image courtesy of Alex. Brown Realty Inc.

Alex. Brown Realty Inc. and Biynah Partners have benefited from the blossoming seller’s market in the midwestern industrial sector with the disposition of a collection of assets totaling nearly 1.3 million square feet in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The joint venture partners sold the six-building portfolio, which had an occupancy rate of 100 percent at closing, to Platform Ventures for an undisclosed figure.

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Neither ABR nor Biynah has disclosed very many specifics about the properties, but the partners note that the assets are well-located and have recorded high occupancy levels since their acquisition. One of the buildings is Pewaukee Commerce Center II, an approximately 80,000-square-foot warehouse at the intersection of Paul Road and Redford Blvd. in Pewaukee, Wis., roughly 20 miles west of Milwaukee. Pewaukee Commerce was among a 423,000-square-foot group of five Milwaukee-area assets that ABR and Biynah acquired together in 2013, with the value-add ABR Chesapeake Fund IV investing $5.7 million in the venture.

ABR and Biynah are longtime partners, having completed nine transactions together since 2007, including the acquisition of an approximately 1.2 million-square-foot portfolio of three properties in the Greater Minneapolis area in 2016. The partners relied on Colliers International to broker the sales transaction with Platform Ventures.

Midwest rising

It does not carry the big-ticket, industrial-sector cachet of the Inland Empire or the Port of New York and New Jersey, but the Midwest has been quickly moving up on the investment community’s radar. “Midwest markets are seeing an unprecedented amount of investment from tenants, developers, and investors that may have once considered the region ‘fly over country,’ according to JLL’s  2021 Midwest Industrial Outlook report. “Our [report] confirms that Midwest markets are officially on the map of major institutional players, and more are destined to follow.”

Sellers have been pocketing the big bucks and investors have been expanding or even establishing a footprint in increasingly vital Midwestern markets. Recent notable transactions include Investcorp’s $280 million purchase of a 3.5 million-square-foot portfolio in the metropolitan Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati markets in the fourth quarter of 2020. And more recently, in the first week of February 2021, Raith Capital announced the $140 million sale of 12 assets totaling 3 million square feet in metropolitan Cleveland, as well as Fort Wayne and Bloomington in Indiana.