Having obtained Cord Camera Centers Inc. properties in Ohiothrough receivership last summer, Genworth Financial has placed theassets on the market for lease or sale. Cassidy Turley is marketingthe retailer's four stores, along with its former headquarters andwarehouse at 2030 Dividend Dr. in Columbus, OH.

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The offering represents an uptick in distress-related deals upfor sale in the area, where a growing number of retail, apartmentand office assets have fallen into trouble. "In the past three tofour months there's definitely been an increase in defaulted andbankrupt properties," says Kevin James, a vice president at CassidyTurley, who is representing Genworth along with Micha Bitton, KevinMcGrath, Mike Hurd and Rick Trott. "Most people thought it wasgoing to start last year, but it's really starting in the firstquarter of this year."

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According to Real Capital Analytics, there has been a noticeablegrowth in distressed commercial properties throughout Ohio inrecent months, with a tally of more than $3 billion worth oftroubled assets as of the end of February. That compares to $1.4billion for the same period in the previous year, according to RCA.Still, Ohio maintains a negligible amount of distressed propertiescompared to the rest of the country.

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Nevertheless, Cassidy Turley forecasted in its year-end reviewof Columbus that most of the area's transactions in 2010 wouldderive from distressed or heavily discounted assets. The firm saidthe majority of last year's distressed sales were smaller,owner-occupied assets-a trend it anticipates may change as "largerinvestors deplete cash reserves and find it difficult to findreplacement financing:

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For its part, Cord Camera filed for dissolution and appointmentof a receiver in June 2009 to keep its operations running,according to a company release. The company started in 1954, andwas one of the biggest camera retailers in the Midwest. However,the family business had experienced a number of financialdifficulties, including a call on its $8.6-million credit line byHuntington Bancshares Inc. in 2008. The retailer reportedly raninto defaults on equipment leases as well.

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Shortly after heading into receivership, the retailer wasacquired by Phoenix-based Colfax Financial LLC, its largestcreditor. The camera company had more than 30 stores, but is nowdown to 18 locations in Ohio and Indiana.Cassidy Turley's Jamessays that Colfax consolidated the Cord Camera stores, vacating thesites now up for sale. The sites include a 10,933 square-foot storeat 4784 N. High St. in Columbus, OH, a 4,320-square-foot store at4949 Tuttle Crossing Blvd. in Dublin, OH, a 10,000 square-footstore that includes drive- thru service at 2014Baltimore-Reynoldsburg Rd. in Reynoldsburg, OH, and a7,200-square-foot store at 631 E. Aurora Rd. in Macedonia, OH. Alsoavailable is the Dividend Drive property, which includes 17,700square feet of office and 19,500 square feet of warehouse.


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