Tier REIT Buys a Little, Sells a Little

The trust moves forward with its strategic plan by executing transactions adding up to $218 million.
Domain 7 in Austin, Texas

Domain 7 in Austin, Texas

Dallas—With the execution of three transactions valued at an aggregate $217.7 million, Tier REIT Inc. continues to move forward with its strategic plan. The Dallas-based company just acquired its partner’s interest in two Austin office properties, and completed two office dispositions in Philadelphia and Burbank, Calif., effectively increasing its presence in one of its core markets and backing away from two locations that didn’t make its target list.

Tier REIT is laser-focused on seven markets that are demand-driven, amenity-rich locales benefiting from population and office-using employment growth. Austin ticks all the boxes, so the company took full ownership of the Domain 2 and Domain 7 office towers at the 300-acre The Domain mixed-use development with the acquisition of its partner’s 51 percent interest in the premier towers. The buildings—which total 337,000 square feet and boast tenant rosters featuring the likes of online vacation rental marketplace HomeAway, Amazon and Time Warner—were developed for approximately $45 million in 2014 by a joint venture between Shorenstein Properties, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and Endeavor Real Estate Group. Tier REIT acquired the remaining stake for $51.2 million.

“We have obtained direct access to a notable cache of high-credit and fast growing tenants as well as strategic rights to parking, ingress and egress, and the property owners association, which we believe provides us the best opportunity to optimize value as we continue the prudent execution of our build-to-core development program,” Scott Fordham, president & CEO of Tier REIT, said in a prepared statement on the transaction.

Domain 2 in Austin, Texas

Domain 2 in Austin, Texas

Tier REIT’s presence at The Domain extends beyond Domain 2 and 7. When Tier REIT acquired its original share in the two buildings in 2015, the REIT also snapped up additional assets. With the closing of the recent purchase, the company now owns 669,000 square feet of office properties; an approximately 50 percent stake in a 291,000-square-foot, 94 percent pre-leased office project; and developable land zoned for 1.3 million square feet of additional office offerings.

Tier REIT’s remaining six target markets are Dallas, Houston, Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta and Denver—not Philadelphia or the suburban Los Angeles city of Burbank. Staying on point, the REIT sold the 1.4 million-square-foot, mixed-use Wannamaker Building at 100 Penn Square East in Philadelphia’s Center City to an undisclosed third party. The disposition involved Tier REIT’s non-controlling interest in the entity that indirectly owns the Wannamaker Building. The deal garnered the company $114 million, including debt assumption.

Also on the chopping block was Buena Vista Plaza, a 115,000-square-foot office property located at 2411 W. Olive Ave. in Burbank’s Media District, less than 15 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The property sold to an unidentified buyer for $52.5 million. “Utilizing proceeds from the sale of our interest in the Wanamaker Building to reduce leverage, we have now substantially completed the strengthening phase of our strategic plan. Further, the sale of Buena Vista Plaza continues the Company’s efforts to exit properties located in non-target markets and begins the recycling phase of our strategic plan,” Fordham said.

And the program continues. Tier REIT is planning to sell additional properties that don’t meet the new criteria for its portfolio, and bid adieu to those respective markets. Roughly $300 million of assets were still up for grabs as of the company’s third quarter earnings call on Nov. 10, 2016. Proceeds from the ongoing recycling will be directed toward new acquisitions and development projects.

Images courtesy of Yardi Matrix