FRP Outlines Development Strategy Following Industrial Asset Sale

The company sold 40 warehouse properties and three land parcels to Blackstone Real Estate Partners for more than $300 million in May and is now focusing on mixed-use and value-add deals.
David deVilliers, president & COO, FRP Development and Florida Rock Properties
David deVilliers, president & COO, FRP Development and Florida Rock Properties

Nearly two months after selling a major portion of its Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area industrial holdings to Blackstone Real Estate Partners, FRP Development Corp. is moving ahead with a long-term development and operating strategy. The company will focus on finding new value-add properties and completing several mixed-use projects in the region.

“With numerous high-profile projects currently in our development pipeline, we intend to focus on the successful execution of these assets in a timely manner from a construction and leasing perspective,” David deVilliers, president & COO of FRP Development and Florida Rock Properties, said in a prepared statement. “Concurrently, our team is scouring the Mid-Atlantic region for emerging and compelling real estate opportunities that match our exacting acquisition criteria. Together with or strong internal team and development partners, we expect to maintain an active development pace in the foreseeable future.”

The company’s ongoing projects include Hollander Business Park, a 330,000-square-foot development with a 96,000-square-foot warehouse under construction. Riverfront on the Anacostia is a 1.1 million-square-foot, four-phase mixed-use development adjacent to the Nationals Park in downtown Washington, D.C. The first phase, Dock 79, with 305 apartments and 14,200 square feet of retail was completed in October 2017. Phase Two – The Maren, featuring 264 residential units and 7,000 square feet of retail – broke ground in April. Both phases are being co-developed with MRP Residential. Additionally, the company has a 333,000-square-foot office and retail project within Baltimore Crossroads in Baltimore County, Md., which is being co-developed with St. John Properties. Phase One with 100,000 square feet of space has already begun construction.

FRP is also planning two single-family and townhome developments in Carroll County, Md., and a third residential subdivision in eastern Baltimore County.

“Our immediate strategy is to leverage our experience and available cash reserves to uncover value-add real estate opportunities to fuel long-term growth,” deVilliers said. “The company’s existing projects have strong designs and concepts and will also keep our team extremely active in the local region.”

Blackstone deal detailed

First announced in late March, FRP agreed to sell 41 industrial warehouse properties and three adjacent land parcels, totaling 3.6 million square feet, to Blackstone. However, a tenant exercised its right of first refusal on one of the properties and acquired that asset for $11.7 million, so the Blackstone deal closed in late May for 40 properties and three land parcels. According to deVilliers, the price paid for the portfolio was a strong testament to the investment-grade quality of the properties.

More than three-quarters of the assets were in Maryland with the rest in Virginia and Delaware. The Maryland properties included Transit Business Park, a five-building, 232,300-square-foot park in Baltimore, and Lakeside Business Park in Edgewood, Md., with nine warehouse/flex buildings on 64 acres that already holds 893,700 square feet of developed space and sits on a site that totals 84 developable acres. One of the Virginia sites was the four-building Patriot Business Park with 476,000 square feet of warehouse/office space in Prince William, Va.

Strong industrial market

The Baltimore area industrial market had a record year in 2017, according to JLL’s Q1 2018 Industrial Insight report. JLL notes that the first quarter of 2018 started a bit quietly, with modest net absorption and deliveries. Still, the total vacancy hit a record low of 6.5 percent and developers were looking to take advantage of that with more than 4.1 million square feet of warehouse inventory under construction in Metro Baltimore. About half of the development was speculative, the report added. Average direct asking rents continued to rise, hitting $4.96 per square foot for the first quarter of 2018.

Image courtesy of FRP Development