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DEARBORN, MI-Three office/research and development buildings with about 200,000-sf of space, the future Ford Motor Co. headquarters of the Lincoln-Mercury division in Dearborn, were recently sold for $25 million.

The seller was Principal Financial Group, a division of The Principal of Des Moines, Iowa. The buyer was the Scheuer family, the heirs of James Scheuer, a former New York congressman. Ted Gibbons of Investment Realty Advisors Inc. of Seattle handled the transaction.

Principal sold the asset as part of an off-loading of single-tenant properties, Gibbons tells GlobeSt.com. “This is one of the top three assets in their portfolio of about a dozen single tenant facilities. They are going public, and want to focus their strategic plan on multi-tenant facilities,” Gibbons says.

The company’s policyholders voted to have the Principal Financial Group go public in July. The IPO, which is the final step in the conversion from a mutual insurance holding company to a stock company, is still expected to occur in the next 30 days.

The three buildings are currently used by Visteon, a Tier 1 automotive supplier that was formerly owned by Ford, but split off to its own company. Now that Visteon is moving out, Ford is making the buildings the headquarters of its Lincoln Mercury division. The company has a 15-year-lease on the three buildings, located on Commerce Drive South in Dearborn, about 1.5 miles south of the Ford World Headquarters. One building is 65,000 sf on 4.7 acres, another is 91,627 sf on 7.78 acres and one is 54,119 sf. All three range in age from nine to 11 years old.

The facilities are located in the 400-acre Fairlane Business Park, a collection of light industrial and research and development facilities mostly catering to the automotive market.

The buyer, a family trust of former New York Rep. James H. Scheuer, sold an apartment building in Sacramento, Calif. to purchase the Dearborn property, Gibbons said. The trust is following in the trend of companies acquiring high-rated single-tenant facilities as a safe investment, according to Gibbons.

The buildings purchased are triple AAA rated. “With the current state of the economy, many companies are now focusing on this type of asset rather than multifamily facilities. The trust purchased this property because it has known quality as an income stream,” Gibbons says.

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