Lingerfelt Snaps Up Liberty Property Portfolio for $100M
- May 20, 2011
Lingerfelt Cos. increased its large presence in the greater Richmond, Va., area by a whopping 919,000 square feet in one fell swoop with the purchase of a 14-building office and flex portfolio from Liberty Property Trust. The $100 million deal, the first transcation of such a size for metropolitan Richmond, in about 10 years, constitutes a homecoming of sorts for the family-run company, which has long operated in the city.
In 1995, principal Alan Lingerfelt facilitated the merging of his company, Lingerfelt Development Corp., with Liberty Property Trust and stayed on with the REIT for more than 12 years as a senior vice president. During his tenure there, he played a large role in its activities in Virginia and consequently had a great deal to do with the 14 properties Liberty just sold to Lingerfelt Cos.
“The portfolio had not been listed, but we were not the only one interested,” he told CPE. “I think our history with the assets and with the company was a lot of help in the final transaction. We’re pleased to add these 14 properties back to our portfolio.”
The group of assets consists of eight buildings totaling 562,500 square feet in the 850-acre mixed-use Innsbrook Corporate Center in Glen Allen, with the remaining properties sited in Richmond, including two structures encompassing 152,100 square feet at Westgate at Wellesley; two facilities accounting for an aggregate 154,200 square feet at Westerre; a 44,900-square-foot structure at Deep Run Business Center and a building on Parham Road featuring 5,200 square feet.
Lingerfelt Cos. will have no worries in terms of gaps in the tenant roster; together, the buildings are 98 percent leased. The Richmond-area market has more than regained its footing post-recession. “There has been a bit of pent-up demand for large blocks of space from companies that had been holding off expansion plans,” Lingerfelt noted. “And companies that had only been looking at existing space are now considering build-to-suits.”
In response to the solid and growing demand for office and flex properties, Lingerfelt Cos. has three projects teed up to build in Richmond. Additional acquisitions are also on the agenda. “We already have the next group of letters of agreement in place. There are a lot of properties on the market for purchase, but there’s a lot of competition for the higher-quality assets.” Lingerfelt Cos. is keeping an eye open for suburban office and industrial facility opportunities, and is also pursuing its strong interest in medical office buildings.
As for Liberty Property Trust, the disposition of the portfolio dovetails with its of diminishing its exposure in suburban office markets across the country.