First Industrial to Buy $82M Portfolio of Vehicle Auction Sites

First Industrial Realty Trust has agreed to acquire an $82 million real estate portfolio of eight car auction sites from ADESA Inc., a company that operates 60 car auctions across North America. ADESA will lease back the sites under 20-year leases with 20-year renewal options. ADESA will reinvest the funds freed up in the transaction into its core auction business. In addition to the portfolio acquisition, Chicago-based First Industrial will provide ADESA with about $12.5 million for construction of physical improvements at the Otay Mesa site in California. The portfolio consists of four sites in California and single sites in Fairburn, Ga.; Houston; Auburn, Wash.; and Bradenton, Fla. Seven of the eight locations have already been acquired. The remaining site, a ground leasehold interest in Fairburn, Ga., will close shortly. According to research by Grubb & Ellis Co., the industrial market weakened gradually through the second quarter of this year, with the U.S. industrial vacancy rate ending the second quarter at 8.2 percent. Grubb & Ellis considers that level of vacancy moderate, while noting that it is nevertheless the highest vacancy rate in three years. Even so, First Industrial has been a fairly active industrial property acquirer throughout the year. In August, the company bought a 233,000-square-foot portfolio of three Class A distribution facilities in Seattle. In July, the firm expanded into both the French and German markets. Between January and June, the company announced seven acquisitions and the establishment of two joint venture funds targeting industrial property in Belgium, Canada and The Netherlands. First Industrial develops, owns and operates industrial real estate in more than 30 markets in the United States, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands. The company owns, manages and has under development nearly 100 million square feet of industrial space.