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MIAMI-Berwind Property Group of Philadelphia bought a 138,000-sf warehouse building in Boca Raton, FL in October 1998 for $6.8 million or 49.28 per sf and sold it yesterday for $21.7 million or $157.24 per sf.

Schmier & Feurring Properties of Boca Raton is the new owner of the building which is fully-leased to five tenants on long-term contracts. The $157-per-sf sale price of the 791 Building compares with the $60-per-sf price of the nearby vacant Sensormatic structure two months ago.

“The difference is the value of a building fully leased to good to excellent credit tenants in long-term leases,” A. Mack Gaither, senior investment consultant, RJS Realty Group Inc., West Palm Beach, FL, tells GlobeSt.com.

Gaither and Joe Nahas, senior vice president, Aegis Realty Consultants, Philadelphia, negotiated for Berwind as exclusive agents and were the sole brokers in the transaction. Gaither also represented Berwind in the acquisition of the property in 1998.

Berwind vice president John Brogan orchestrated the acquisition, redevelopment and leasing of the 791 Building. He tells GlobeSt.com Berwind’s investment was “a multi-million-dollar” effort.

South Florida construction industry estimators tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity converting and redeveloping the 138,000-sf warehouse couldn’t have been done for less than $125 per sf or a total $17.25 million.

Berwind initially bought the property for Casi-Rusco, the security card access system manufacturer and a subsidiary of newly formed GE Interlogix. Casi-Rusco was a Berwind affiliate until February of this year.

“Casi-Rusco was founded in Boca Raton over 20 years ago and had outgrown their leased facility but wanted to stay within the Arvida Park of Commerce,” Brogan tells GlobeSt.com. “By acquiring and redeveloping the 791 Building, we were able to double CasiRusco’s space and provide for their long-term expansion within the building.”

Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Stiles Corp. constructed the build-to-suit property in 1994 for Alfred Angelo Co., a wedding dress manufacturer. The property came on the market in 1998 when Angelo decided to change its method of product warehousing.

At about the same time Angelo was leaving the property, Berwind was looking for a new office/research facility for its then sister company, Casi-Rusco.

“I was representing Berwind in their search, which took considerable time because of the tightness in the Boca Raton market,” Gaither tells GlobeSt. Com.

The property was redeveloped and converted to an office building in 1999. Rents ranged from $13 per sf to $16 per sf during the building’s three-year lease-up period.

The first tenant, Casi-Rusco, which occupies 64% of the building, moved into the structure in January 2000. The other four tenants moved in over the next 18 months. They are Champion Computer Corp., Pegasus Airwave, Wm. Thies & Sons and Pierce, Goodwin, Alexander, Linville.

During this time, Casi-Rusco and its affiliated companies were merged into publicly held Interlogix. In December 2001, General Electric acquired Interlogix.

Berwind is a privately held real estate management firm with a portfolio of 24 million sf of income properties having a gross portfolio value of $2 billion. Berwind Property Group is part of the Berwind Group, a diversified family owned enterprise and one of the 200 largest private companies in the United States, Berwind says in a prepared statement.

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