ING Clarion Goes on Shopping Spree

In the wake of the acquisition of retail property in Denver, real estate investment advisory firm ING Clarion Partners L.L.C. has purchased more property in Denver–an office complex–as well as another office property in Santa Clara, Calif. All three of the acquisitions, which the company characterizes as value-add plays, were completed with separate joint venture partners. In Denver, ING Clarion partnered with Schnitzer West, a Seattle-based operating company, in the purchase of two office buildings totaling about 262,000 square feet. Currently known as 44 Cook and 55 Madison, the JV plans to renovate the two adjacent Cherry Creek-area buildings. The purchase price was about $52 million. The office purchase in Denver comes at a time of slowdown in the local market, though perhaps not as much as many other office markets nationwide. According to brokerage firm Frederick Ross Co., second-quarter 2008 office absorption was down about 1 million square feet marketwide from the second quarter of 2007, but nevertheless there was position absorption in 2Q08 of about 214,000 square feet. The Cherry Creek deal followed the purchase of Denver Pavilions, a 345,000-square-foot retail project, by a ING Clarion-Gart Properties JV last week. The price was about $94.5 million, and the partnership plans to renovation the 10-year-old project. Retail sales have generally flattened out in Metro Denver in recent quarters, and home prices, according to Grubb & Ellis Co.’s 2Q08 report on the area’s retail market, lost about 5.5 percent of their value in the first quarter of this year–about half of the national average loss. In California, a JV between ING Clarion and Menlo Equities has bought 3300 Olcott, a 100,000-square-foot office building, in Santa Clara. The value of the transaction was about $20 million.