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FARMINGTON HILLS, MI-Computer software developer Compuware Corp. hopes to sell its former headquarters to two Detroit-area real estate firms for around $20 million. The decision follows the recent movement of 4,100 Compuware employees to the company’s new $350 million corporate headquarters in Downtown Detroit and is contingent on the new owners finding tenants within a year, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Compuware officials signed the sales option and purchase agreement last month for its former headquarters with Friedman Real Estate Group based here and Kojaian Cos. in Bloomfield Hills.

Founded in 1987, Friedman Real Estate Group is the largest locally owned commercial real estate firm in metro Detroit. Kojaian Cos. is a national real estate development, investment, and management corporation involved in the aquisition and ownership of 30 million sf of US real estate.

Under the deal’s terms, the two realty companies can buy the three-story, 235,000-sf building if they secure tenants within a year. If enough tenants cannot be found, the building reverts to Compuware.

Officials from Compuware, Friedman and Kojaian declined comment on the transaction. But a report by Friedman suggests the company believes leasing options are optimistic, despite criticisms about the sluggish economy.

“Farmington Hills’ direct vacancy rate spiked to 26.08 percent during the first half of 2003, representing a nearly 70% increase in vacant square footage for year-end 2002,” according to the company’s 2003 Mid-Year Market Report.

“Despite its woes, Farmington Hills office market remains quite resilient,” the report continues. “During the last six months, average rental rates in Farmington Hills fell be only 4% to $18.86 per sf, while sublease space increased only marginally. When the economy improves, the Farmington Hills’ market should profit significantly as users begin to seek out large blocks of coninuous office space.” By comparison, last year, the average office occupancy rate in the Detroit area was 85.5%, down from 87.9% in 2001, according to the report.

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