NEW ORLEANS-The Poydras Center, one of the most prominenthigh-rises in the city’s central business district, is for sale.The 453,255-square-foot, class A office building is expected tofetch between $55 million and $60 million.

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The building’s owner, Santa Monica, CA-based Hertz InvestmentGroup, selected Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Institutional CapitalMarkets Group to market the 27-story tower. Richard Plummer andMichael Ross, executive vice presidents, and Andrew Harper, vicepresident, will represent Hertz in conjunction with Bryan Burns IIIof Transwestern’s New Orleans office.

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Located at 650 Poydras St., the building is just few blocks fromthe world-renowned French Quarter and adjacent to the Hale BoggsFederal Building, the local U.S. Courthouse. It sits on top of anine-story parking garage, which allows unobstructed views of thecity from the lowest leasable office suites.

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The Poydras Center is leased primarily to law firms and thelocal U.S. Attorney’s office, which recently signed a 15-year leaseto occupy 65,000 square feet, or 15% of the building. The newtenant is scheduled to move in late 2010. With the U.S. Attorney’slease, the property is 90% leased, according to Plummer.

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Developed by MetLife in 1983, The Poydras Center boasts annualnet operating income of roughly $5 million. The property boastsassumable financing of $33.8 million at 6.17% rate through2016.

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Plummer tells GlobeSt. that Hertz Investment Group acquired ThePoydras Center in 2002. The private investment firm, led by JudahHertz, also owns four other office buildings in New Orleans, alongwith the Capital One Tower in Lake Charles, LA and the Regions BankBuilding in Shreveport, LA.

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In September 2009, the firm sold another New Orleans trophybuilding, the 26-story Dominion Tower, to Tom Benson, owner of theNFL Saints football team. He acquired the 600,000-square-footbuilding, which is adjacent to the Superdome and the New OrleansSports Arena, with plans for it to house the Saints’ corporateoffice.

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Plummer says Hertz Investment Group decided it was the righttime to sell The Poydras Center. The new lease with the U.S.Attorney’s office provides consistent cash flow and the localeconomy and office market are very strong.

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In fact, the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner region has one of thelowest unemployment rates in the country, just 6% as of March 2010,according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 2010.Similarly, the CBD office vacancy rate is one of the lowest in thenation at 10%, Plummer notes, adding that the city currently hasmore than $27 billion of capital programs underway.

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Plummer says he expects private equity investors and non-tradedREITs to bid on The Poydras Center. The marketing team will beaccepting offers until the end of June.

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