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OAK BROOK, IL-CenterPoint Properties Trust has netted $90.2 million by securitizing a 620-acre ground lease with Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. at its CenterPoint Intermodal Center under development in Elwood, IL. The bonds pay 6.641% over 18 years, matching the remaining term of the ground lease that calls for the railroad to pay $6.5 million a year.

The REIT plans to sell the property “in the next year or so” along with the ground lease, says chief financial officer Paul Fisher. The sale would involve the buyer assuming the $90.2-million bond issue, according to the company.

“A land sale with a lease in place would’ve yielded $30 million less than what we got today,” Fisher says in a Tuesday afternoon conference call to announce the deal. “We always thought the ground lease was worth more to us than what we’d get from the sale of the land.”

CenterPoint has no shortage of options on deploying the proceeds, says chief executive officer John S. Gates, Jr., ticking off the Joliet Arsenal project, Ford Supplier Park, a build-to-suit at its O’Hare North development as well as acquisitions in the pipeline and deals in consideration. “We’ll be doing a little portfolio pruning,” Gates adds.

CenterPoint Capital Funding LLC also arranged leveraged lease financing for rail improvements built for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, earning a $5-million fee. Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc. advised CenterPoint on both deals.

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